Living as a minority is fucking exhausting these days.

By Daviemoo

The never ending discourse that minorities are subjected to about their identity is absolutely exhausting.
When I was in my mid teens, the amount of discourse around gayness was tailing off after many, many years of our time in the societal panic spotlight. I’ve mentioned before that we almost seemed to experience something of a renaissance in white gay culture, a time where nobody cared or thought about us and it felt very liberating to just be able to get on with life without any of the inane rambling.
Now, we seem to be back in the spotlight along with other minorities and the endless pathologisation is exhausting, and I would love for those outside of our experience to imagine how mind numbing it is to be subjected to this over and over.

There’s this thing that happens when you exist as a minority where you feel the need to speak out about something, and are instantly shushed. We all know what I’m about to say- from “why does everything need to be about race” to “you don’t have to talk about being gay constantly” or the monosyllabic ranting around gender, for every time you open your mouth to speak somewhere an ignorant person is desperate to tell you to close it. This is, though, especially ironic when the person or people telling you to quieten down have profiles or existences dedicated to the ongoing denigration of people just like you- from racists who would be out of work without the existence of people of colour to people like Maya Forstater who seems to do nothing but go from anti LGBT+ event to anti LGBT+ event. We can’t turn off whatever it is that makes you dislike us, and bigots can- could- should deal with their bigotry, but I have so often seen people of that creed reject founded evidence of their wrongness in favour of believing incorrect beliefs. In fact, if we’re mentioning Forstater let’s talk about the idea that Gender Critical beliefs are a protected characteristic because even if you present gender critical people with empirical evidence they are incorrect they will still hold the belief in the face of it being wrong. There is an ever growing tranche of evidence linking far right activism including anti vaccination and white supremacist rallies to gender critical activism and we can see why: Look at how the anti vaccine movement has stopped talking about autism in the face of billions and billions of COVID Vaccinations yielding not one additional case of autism- it’s the same conspiracy-esque nonsense as trans people secretly being funded by George Soros to “trans” peoples kids.
How is one meant to argue the case with people to whom fact means nothing. Judith Butler has often spoken out about those who will try to “silence” dissenting minorities, as if stopping adults from talking about their gender or sexuality would stop children from experiencing their own awakenings; trans people existed before 1990, as did gay people and quietening those voices does nothing to stop that. Let us not forget Butler’s Guardian article in early 2022, which featured a prediction of far right allyship with Gender Critical movements. Though this section of the article was removed, the truth of its words rang out and were ratified only last month when Butler’s prediction came true.

For most of us, identity is incidental. If we lived in a normal world, my being gay wouldn’t have been a big deal so I probably wouldn’t think about it much. But we don’t live in a normal world. We live in a world where stranger A’s being transgender offends stranger B so much that stranger B literally lobbies against stranger A being able to exist in society: we live in a world where a gay person existing on TV is so offensive to some non gay people that they will boycott shows just to avoid looking at someone who isn’t even doing anything adult- just existing as a gay person.

Now, the irony here is that it’s quite often the people complaining about these things who talk about how people like me are soft, sensitive snowflakes because we don’t like having our identity questioned and pathologised- but I hardly think it’s the people who don’t like spurious accusations of mental illness and perversion levelled act them that are the weak ones, over people who physically cannot tolerate seeing affection expressed between two consenting adults. But it’s an irony that is so often passed over, because acknowledgement of this presents a threat to the heteronormative status quo: if you question why straight men are so sensitive they can’t even see two men kiss, they will likely lose their temper, or immediately spit out nonsense in retaliation.

My personal favourite overused archetype at the moment is the “I’m not *insert flavour of bigotry here* BUT”.
“I’m not homophobic BUT I don’t support gay people’s right to get married”.
So you don’t think it’s homophobic to allow me to have equal rights to you? “You do, you could marry a woman”. Yes I could- do you condone me marrying a woman knowing I have no intention to follow what the normative model of that is…? Also under equal marriage, you have the right to marry another man- ah, you don’t want to because that doesn’t interest you. Interesting…
The most fascinating part of the “I’m not X bigotry BUT” types is almost a tacit acknowledgement that it’s wrong to be bigoted so they try to distance themselves from it whilst also rationalising a viewpoint that proves they are.
I’d posit that it’s possible to hold one, maybe even two ‘mildly’ bigoted opinions about a minority without being wholly a bigot, but it’s best to just unpick those opinions because having bigoted opinions does not help you in any way.
But the way in which bigoted people will try to remove themselves from the idea of being a bigot whilst perpetuating its existence is almost comical.

This seems to happen a lot with anti trans people. “I’m not transphobic” is said so often to me that I could genuinely use it as white noise, second only to “but what did she SAY that’s transphobic”. It’s a bad faith argument. When you’re told by multiple members of a minority that something is bigoted, why fight that? It isn’t affecting your free speech, you can still say it, but you will also be judged for it. If you’re being told that what you say is offensive you have options:
-Accept that what you have said is bigoted, apologise, acknowledging this is wrong and try to do your own work to unpick the thought patterns that led to this thought’s formation
-Accept that what you have said is bigoted but refuse to do the work, believing that it is your right to hold this view even if it is considered “wrong” societally
-Deny that what you have said is bigoted and explain it further, possibly alleviating the problem or making it worse dependant on your defence

-Deny that what you have said is bigoted and refuse to engage on the topic further

It is this key confusion I wish I could unpick. People seem to want to live in a world where they can both say the bigoted opinion AND escape culpability for having it.

A narrow minded opinion is not just a handcuff, it’s a ball and chain: if you want to have the opinion, you must be shackled to it’s consequences: any attempt to hold a bigoted opinion without ownership of it’s negative connotations is proof you are aware that the opinion is incorrect and is not defensible.

The relentless discourse around identity is part, I am almost sure, of human nature. It is human to examine, deconstruct and question identity- from the first moment one human saw another human. walking around in clothes, or choose to farm instead of hunt all the way to now, variation has been part of human existence and many of us spend immense amounts of time unpicking the human experience through the lenses of others: the idea that identity is a binary is laughably reductive in the face of all of human history. From body types, skin colour, gender to the more ephemeral concept of music taste, artistic level, hobbies and interests and so on, humanity is vast and varied: to deny this and to shrink identity to “right” or “wrong” based on its marriage to your own identity is bizarre. The problem is, culture is linked to the popular. White, blonde, fairly affluent right wing people seem to be the largest demographic (this is false, there are more varied and liberal people in western societies) based on social media and media presented to us by states and national interests. The reason that the more varied side fails often to stake its’ representation properly is that, within that vast and varied group there is still a reductive argument about identity that persists, alongside the idea that there is or are a way or ways in which to exist which is “correct”: this is false.

Every person has a mode of existence that suits them. Unfortunately, some people’s mode of existence intersects negatively with others. People who kill, people who hurt others, bigots etc- these people negatively impact on other people’s mode of existence. This is not acceptable, and whilst neither a wholly “live and let live” mindset is fully helpful, it is more conducive to a prosperous society than enforced rules of living that do not fit a certain proportion of people.

There is no “correct way” to exist, because each person is so fundamentally different from the last, though often having overlaps that to apply a unifying theory to existence is wholly pointless.

Looking at gender: many societies have followed similar but not wholly same methods of gender expression for many years. That doesn’t mean those methods are correct as much as that, at the time, they were considered appropriate: from Geishas in Japan as an expression of femininity to Boudica, stripped bare for statues- these are expressions of gender just as surely as petticoats, little black dresses and more. Society changes in huge, varied ways which lead to a retrospective interest in their originations: Think of it in terms of medicine. The reason that so many anti vaxxers exist is that many see medicine as it exists now as the “peak” of modernity: medicine can’t get any better, so any “new” medicine, like vaccines etc are not acceptable or safe: this is based on the idea that medicine doesn’t grow and change. Vaccines have been performed en masse since the late 1800s and whilst they, like every single medical procedure from dentistry to appendectomies have resulted in deaths, the numbers are small. Every time you have a medical procedure you should be aware of the potential for harm: vaccines are no exception.
I have no doubt that in 200 years, if humans don’t wipe themselves out, the way in which we treat cancers etc now will be viewed as just as brutal and unsafe as we view war wound amputations from the 1800s. This is the same for understandings of and ways to go about expressing gender, including the medical side- but one can also look at anything and see societal understanding adapt and grow through time. It genuinely functions the same: Archaic expressions of gender are seen as quaint, and our reductive understanding of gender and its expression now will, again, be seen as primitive if humanity continues to flourish.

But in examining these modes of existence we zoom so far out as to miss the micro-strands of daily existence and humanity woven between these existences, so to zoom back in and to get back to the original point, being under that constant level of scrutiny is wholly exhausting.

One reason I feel this could be the case is that those who live under “social norms” or who feel the need (like transphobic trans people) to reaffirm social norms even in the face of their own existence, feel their existence is threatened when someone exists outside of their reconciliation of their own identity.
In particular, gay men who rail against any man who does not conform to their idea of masculine seem often to be filled with a certain type of discomfort that, because a feminine man exists he will also be tarred with femininity. This leads into a broader discussion of what exactly is wrong with femininity or conversely why a “masculine” woman is problematic, but it’s original concept is that to be a man who does not conform to what another man’s expectation is cannot be a man. Norms are simply the base understanding we originate from, but do not have to be the finality of our understanding of how people can be, exist and function. I have been told innumerable times in my life that I’m not a “real man” because of my sexuality, but if homosexual acts remove me from my sex then sex is surely not innate and immutable- and yet many homophobic gender critical people can hold these two opposing beliefs in their heads at the same time.
I do have to wonder on a personal level if there is a connection between why a lot of gay men are more effeminate- is it biological, societal: who knows. But the question is, why does it matter. Behaviour is just behaviour, and why do normative people feel threatened by those who do not conform? Perhaps there’s a biological imperative on why certain sexes act certain ways, and a further conflation of why homosexual people act differently than this- but in a society that isn’t based on survival due to very base acts, actions and modes of existence it doesn’t matter.

I used to believe that humans would naturally become more understanding, kinder, better as we grew. But I grew up in the early 90s and we didn’t have the internet or smart phones. Now we do, we can reach out and speak to people of every walk of life- and that seems to have come with endless discourse from normative people on why anything outside of their experience makes them uncomfortable. One has to wonder whether this massive amount of discussion is simply a Richter shake of society as we strain to accommodate those who were quiet before: but the main issue we face is that society will not continue to improve until we stop recycling the same faces, the same voices: White cis women endlessly recycling the same 5000 words about their discomfort with trans women, middle aged men speaking out about foreign people in their countries, old people talking about the problems with the young… Until we change the well worn narrative it is only these recidivist attitudes that will continue to seem “normal” and whilst I personally do not want to appeal to “normal” because I am not by my nature, I would very much like for “normal” people to stop discussing people who are not they as a pastime.

Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.

Why I don’t believe in heterosexual marriage- but bravely back it anyway

By Daviemoo

I get that people are comfortable with their sexuality and feel the need to express it. I just feel like it’s being forced on me these days. Every time I put on the TV, every time I read a magazine or a book, there it is- the straight agenda. Men kissing women openly? I worry for our kids as we see the rise of this supposedly “woke” acceptance of straight people everywhere.

Let me preface this by saying, I’m not heterophobic- I believe straight people should be allowed to live in peace and with dignity. I’m just not comfortable with how open a lot of them are about their lifestyle.
Whether you chose to be straight, or you were born that way- it doesn’t really matter, you’re allowed to be and the world is more accepting of you now than it’s ever been – people almost never get killed just for being straight any more. But every day when I see perfume adverts of barely clothed straight couples gyrating on each other, or I’m forced to see another obviously straight-appeasing character indulge in a romance storyline on a tv show I’m trying to enjoy, I just have to ask myself how far this is going to go? Are we going to keep exposing our children to the sexual iniquities of the straight people out there in the name of supposed “inclusivity”?

I know this makes me sound bigoted but really hear me out. What if some poor, innocent gay child is minding their own business and one of their classmates decides to come out as straight and start talking about their lifestyle choice, and that poor impressionable homosexual is convinced that they might be too? When does it end? There should be limits on acceptable talk in front of children when it comes to heterosexuality- for their safety. I don’t want some poor confused kid going through hell trying to work out who they are, or pretending to be straight just to fit in when it seems these days it’s fashionable to call yourself a hetero and start parading around touching your girlfriend or boyfriend up in public. It’s deeply concerning to me.

Again I just want to say, I have no problem with heterosexuals! Some of my best friends are straight and I’m happy for them- but they also know how to act appropriately in public- they don’t go parading around kissing members of the opposite sex for fun, they don’t talk about their dates or their “marriages” that they’re suddenly allowed to have. I’m glad they want to say their relationships are as important as my own, I think they are well within their rights to do it. All I ask, and I’m sure this isn’t unreasonable, is that straight people just learn a little decorum. I do not need to hear your disgusting insinuations about your heterosexual bedroom activities, or worse as if it’s nice and normal to talk about it with silly phrases like “we’re trying for a baby!” because what I hear when you say that is that you’re having unprotected sex with each other- is that something you really want to broadcast, that you’re having unprotected sex?
Some heterosexuals just have no idea how to behave too. I was buying some things to cook the other day and a straight man squeezed a woman’s bottom in front of me! In public! In a store! It seemed performative, I don’t know how they had the nerve to do something so disgusting right in front of my face.

Ultimately, the Queen RuPaul’s bible does condemn heterosexuality in all it’s forms and I do believe it’s only fair to hate the sin but love the sinner- when people die, god will sort them all out and heterosexuals who choose to engage their lifestyle choices will pay recompense for it- that’s just what the bible says and I don’t feel I should have to apologise for that- it’s worthy of respect in a democratic society, obviously- and clearly my religion, my personal beliefs should impact on other peoples ability to live their lives because their activities make me personally uncomfortable, and we all know that this is the yardstick which all society should be formed upon.

Some people will call me woke but I do believe in straight marriage even if I dont agree with it per-se- I think hetero weddings are a beautiful idea (even if so many of them end in divorce because I think we know straight people, deep down, aren’t really “marriage material”) but if they want to do it, they should absolutely be allowed to- just as long as they keep it to themselves.

I really hope my straight friends understand what I mean when I say this- I don’t think your lives are worth less than mine, it’s just that being able to procreate is definitely something we should factor into someones’ worth as a human, because arbitrary processes like ovulation, sperm creation and being able to do missionary are really vital aspects of humanity and not silly irrelevancies like kindness, the willing to help others and any of that other nonsense. Remember, no matter who you choose to sleep with I will always think you’re alright: ultimately this is an issue of cultural appropriateness and I think once this fervour for “straightness” has died down and people realise they don’t need to play act we might see a calming down of the heterosexual agenda. Until then, be you- just please keep it appropriate in front of the children. I believe you’re more than your sexuality- I just believe it’s not really age acceptable to be cavorting around in front of the impressionable with something that’s a little too “adult” in nature.

I hope people read this and understand this is the sort of unmitigated hogwash LGBTQIA people have had to read about ourselves for literally our entire lives and I hope this is funny- but re-read it and imagine that it’s sincerely written about you by someone who actually believes it. Hard as it may be to believe this is the sort of unfiltered shitpipery that we deal with on the daily. Only you guys can sort this out- maybe it’s time to try doing that.

Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.

Pride was, is and will always be a protest- lets make what that means crystal clear

By Daviemoo

Anti LGBTQIA sentiment has taken a notable uptick in the UK in the last 4 years. As of October 2020, community specific hate crimes had tripled, with a huge survey of people confirming that they had experienced anti LGBTQIA sentiment in public or at work over the course of their recent lives. Some outside- and an unfortunate subset of those within- blame the visibility of the trans rights battle. Others, like I, believe the rise of right wing populism and the unmasking and normalisation of hateful sentiment, is the clear cause. The question is- how far will the UK slide, and what will be the catalyst for action to be taken?

You know when you’re at the beach, and you can see a tiny rock that’s been washed around in the tide and that tiny stone has worn a hole in a bigger rock? That’s how I feel, like that little rock, ebbing and flowing backwards and forwards and trying to wear in some change but also getting thinner and thinner myself- when I talk about certain aspects of being gay, back and forth over the same points, trying to wear in the groove so it’s not necessary to keep repeating. It’s so intrinsic to me that it’s almost tiring to have to explain it. Equally I want anyone who does come across this blog to realise that this is MY experience, not THE experience. I’ve met thousands of LGBTQIA people in my life and we all have different stories, so take what I write here as an op-ed, an opinion piece of being part of the LGBTQIA through the well worn lens of my own experience, and not the defining experience. It’s my explanation of me, how I feel and what I face, along with consensus from others I’ve spoken about.

I’m 33 years old, and I was pretty outspoken about my sexuality- firstly, as I grew, accidentally- now, very much intentionally. I didn’t mean to wear it on my sleeve as a child and it’s the idea that it’s controllable that wears at me so. I was never masculine, even though my dad and my uncles are the epitome of typical masculinity. I remember being 4 and 5 and seeking out girls to be friends with because I felt shy around other boys.

I’m apparently an odd one, because I always knew I was gay. I remember being 5 and telling my friend I would marry him one day, and the disgust on his face made me bury it all. But I couldn’t hide my presentation, my campness if you will. But I always felt I should. Rarely, directly, other kids and adults would tell me they didn’t like how I acted, that it wasn’t “normal” and that sentiment was echoed everywhere, wound tightly around my experience of existence and of my adolescence- and I always wondered where it came from, and why the way I acted was (i assume…) linked to my sexuality- I knew from the knee that There Was Something Different, and other people were all too happy to hammer that into my head.

I don’t think- because of that- that I ever experienced a real, relaxed childhood. Because I spent so much of my youth wondering what was different and why, and if I could change it, take it away, deny it, repress it.

I knew that I had to hide it to survive, and I lied to myself every day that I DID like girls, I DID want to be like the other boys around me, share their interests, their demeanour, their jokes. And I never could. This all sounds very self pitying – it was a miserable existence until decided I didn’t care what the repercussions were and that I was going to live outwardly as I was within, and embrace who I truly am.

As I battled through this, I heard so many hateful recycled tropes, and became aware of this culture of open irony that surrounds us on the daily. So, lets focus on some of these aspects and see if we can’t shed some light on why the world is such an odd place to be…

The Narrative of “choice”

I used to believe that there was no element of choice in being gay. And for me, I still don’t. It’s threaded deeply into every aspect of me- sexuality, in a heteronormative society, affects much more than just who you love. But it’s reductive at best for me to say 100% that nobody chooses to be gay- I’ve literally met gay men who have said they chose it, and who am I to deny their experiences off my own? That said I think that if you are gay you are gay- the choice comes into it when it comes to ACTING on it.

Equally, the narrative of choice is a common talking point with anti gay campaigners, so my simple question is -even if it is a choice: who cares? Why does sexuality being a choice in any way mean it deserves less credence, less respect?
You rarely get an answer that isn’t garbage and gobbledegook when you ask this question. The idea that sexuality is a choice is absolutely laughable to me, as someone who (as a child- not now) would have chosen to flip that switch in an instant so I could enjoy my life as other children around me did. Now- I’ve been gay my entire life, I don’t know who I would be if I hadn’t experienced what I have so I cling to it because I believe I’m a mostly good person, and a lot of my empathy comes from the feelings of dislocation that are enmeshed in my sexuality, which is a part of my identity.

I was in a relationship for 2 years with a man who was so deeply brainwashed by heteronormativity and the message that his father pushed to him that gayness was not an option for him, that he only realised he was gay when he’d had sex with his girlfriend, she had gone to bed, and he had gone to watch gay porn on the internet, suddenly realising he only felt fulfilled when he was looking at men. He felt terrible for his girlfriend but was desperate to leave and be true to himself- I met him on his return to the UK, and we were together for 2 years as he explored who he was. Due to my own experiences I thought this was a rarity – not, apparently, so.

People ask why LGBTQIA issues should be taught in school – probably because many people feel as he did, and end up experimenting in the opposite way that society normally speaks in hushed tones about. I’d imagine younger girls and boys would appreciate not being the experimentation of LGBTQIA youths who don’t know who they are, due to what I can only describe as indoctrination by heteronormative media and the framing of how we raise children in this society.

It’s always entertaining to ask heterosexual people when they chose to be straight and listen to either glib silence, or slack jawed misunderstanding. Though I did see @theconsciouslee who is amazing by the way, have an argument with a homophobe recently who said that heterosexuality is “the default”- which would imply it’s not a choice because you intrinsically are it and then somehow, without choosing, choose to stray from that…

I think some LGBTQIA people would “choose” not to be part of the LGBTQIA if given a choice. Having run a poll on Twitter, my results say:

So though many people would choose their identity if it was a choice, ultimately the fact that people can even answer the question should defeat the narrative of choice, which needs to be extinguished once and for all; and for those who believe they are straight but choose not to engage in homosexual acts, or who think their reluctance to transition due to whatever reasons means others are the same- you’re bi/trans and ignorant of others’ experiences to boot.

I suspect in a different society/country the results would be vastly different than they were, and would not be echoed by this tweet which I agree with

I know it has “sex” in it, but sexuality is about more than sex

Another defence homophobes love to use is that they don’t want to “confuse” children when allowing LGBTQIA issues to be spoken about in school. Again, to reiterate, what about those of us in the rainbow who grow up confused- but aside from that- we still grow up as ourselves despite being surrounded by heterosexuality, so the idea that a class could “confuse” someone into being part of the community is ridiculous. And again I repeat- for the vast, huge majority of us there is no element of choice.

Equally it always comes across as the idea that heterosexual fearmongers think that people in the rainbow’s issues only ever revolve around our genitals or sex. It’s rarely spoken about that we have a much higher rate of depression, low self esteem, suicide rate, that we engage in unsafe sex practices because we’re simply not taught to abide by safety and because we feel that sex is our binding commonality and have to use this to bond with and please our fellows. I’m trying to be sensitive when saying that, as it’s certainly not an accusation of a cavalier attitude to safety in the community- it’s an explanation of the reality that some of us seek sexual safety and equate that to emotional closeness- even at 33, I too can sometimes fool myself that someone who wants to have sex with me is the same as someone who cares for me.

Talking about LGBTQIA issues in a setting like school would allow for us to safeguard youths in the rainbow from falling into the same traps many of us have- unsafe meetups, grooming by the more sinister of those in our community (Who should also be dealt with), falling into echo chambers about issues that affect our community. The normalisation of sexuality and gender presentations would allow for a broader dialogue of shared experiences to bolster the youth experience of those who both do, and do not, conform to what is seen as societal norms- and expanding those societal norms to embrace us would give those of us outside the current norms to find a sense of normality – something I’ve had to search for years to find from within. I am normal. We are normal. It’s a society that forces rigid conformance to gender and sexual spectrum norms that is not.

Sexuality is a huge trope in culture, and comes with baggage which can be foisted on us- and to escape that iron blanket and discover our own identities takes work. We have to untangle not only the negative aspersions we face from heteronormative society- we have to unpick the subcultures we sometimes feel obligated to be part of, and feeding into stereotypes or archetypes leads to problems of it’s own.

Recentering pride

As efforts are made to shift pride back to the pure protest it originated as, with or without the acceptance of an utterly ambivalent tory government, this should be a claxon call to the community at large. It’s not the time to seek peaceful dialogue with those who would debate our rights to marry, kiss in the street, live with our partner, transition. Our existence is not an inconvenience to people but an incontrovertible, undeniable hard fact. Our existence can, as it has been, suppressed but we can and do continue to exist in strength through that. And now we’ve tasted the freedom acceptance grants, it’s not likely to be something surrendered easily.

Pride once again needs to become an outright slap in the face of those who would deny us our rights, our happiness, our ability to live as we are. We have to fight the foolishness I’ve gone over in this article and work together as a community, or we’ll always be struggling for even the bare minimum of being tolerated.

One of the enduring problems we face is the hedonistic amongst us in the community who care only for their own rights and protections. I see being part of the community as an automatic opting in to defending the rights of my fellows who share the community for whatever reason. To see selfish cis gay men talk about how they don’t care for trans rights, to listen to lesbians casually erase bisexuality etc, is maddening and exhausting. We can’t, we shouldn’t, fight amongst ourselves- that ire should be aimed at those without, not within. The more accepting the community is and the more it grows, the safer we are- and everyone in the community, at its core, suffers oppression- regardless of it’s “cause”, we share that commonality and must fuse together to battle this.

Having tried to baby the anti trans movement with spoonfuls of information to explain away their worries about a people who simply want to live unimpeded by their ignorance, or nicely ask for my least favourite word- tolerance- from bigots, I’m of the mind that time is running short to remind people that the community is more than happy to fight for it’s rights.

As the worrying radicalisation of more and more people continues unabated under a government indifferent to serious warning signs that the LGBTQIA of the UK are under threat, the time has come to utilise pride as the weapon in hiding it’s been during an era of more acceptance. We must be heard, we must be seen, we must be fierce. We, as a united group, will not have our rights supplanted by people who do not understand or care to understand our humanity.

Pride must be mobilised as a march of warning, as the sound of doldrums to make those who would stand to take our rights away- as a threat that coming for our community will not end with peace, but will bring back the radical queer movements of the 70s and 80s- staged die-ins, tv channels being overtaken, protests. We are a people whose oppression is not a “debate” as the more literate amongst the bigots try to say- we are humans, with rights and dignity we will not lose to appease the pathological amongst us.

Danger Signs

The reason I chose to write this piece is the sheer amount of anti LGBTQIA hate crimes taking place across the UK at the moment- worldwide, anti LGBTQIA sentiment is as always, a frightening topic. But in the UK, it seemed to have reached a point of normalisation that was refreshing. You weren’t beleaguered by bigotry in the street often, and people didn’t ask the retinue of foolish questions that are invasive and degrading in equal measure.

It seems that in recent months, hate crime has spiked against the community again, and at a time of danger, we should be focusing on coming together to offer support and foster discussion on how to be safe- but instead are mired in efforts to enlighten the more foolish amongst us who subscribe to anti trans sentiment, or feel that it doesn’t affect them because they are “lucky” enough to blend into heteronormative society.

If a concerted effort is not made by the entire community, these issues are never cured, only banished into the dark to fester, and it’s re-emergence is a worrying sign of things to come if we don’t rise up as one to combat the never tiring bigotry that hides in the shadows.

The concerted but quiet efforts of bigoted politicians has been the cornerstone of the issue with a sliding backwards of movements against the community. From the mainstream acceptance of politicians like Priti Patel who was, is and continues to be outspoken in her dislike for progressive rights for gay people, the prime minister himself referring to us tank topped bum boys, foolish errors in judgement like former PM Theresa May and then a compounding of the error, Kier Starmer, visiting an anti LGBTQIA church who foster conversion therapy- the dismantlement of the LGBT advisory board by ostensible equalities minister Liz Truss, the mainstreaming of transphobia in politics by (at best) misguided and at worst radicalised MP’s like Rosie Duffield or Jess Phillips who stupidly tweeted a conspiracy theory about a trans murderer then refused to apologise… And the fact that the anti trans arguments are, naturally, recycled tropes from homophobia.

For fun, lets pick them apart!

*Insert LGBTQIA person here* is a pervert!

From “gays shouldn’t teach because they are paedophiles” to “trans women will wave their genitals around/ look at my genitals”, genuinely WHY – is being part of this community linked to the idea that we are naturally perverted. It seems that any LGBTQIA behaviour is linked intrinsically to the idea of sex, sexual gratification or sexual arousal. Gay men couldn’t just want to be teachers for the same banal reasons as heterosexual people. Trans women couldn’t just want to use a bathroom because they feel comfortable surrounded by people with their own gender presentation. The bathroom fallacy is always my favourite to pull apart, and as I mentioned in another piece, if you’re afraid of the arousal of those around you in a bathroom the next issue will come with lesbian, gay or bi people being forced to use some mythical third bathroom option to prevent what heteronormative folk see as a natural result of shared space.

To not adhere to societal expectations does not automatically match the (frankly overused in this instance) moniker of pervert. Enjoying leatherwear or being a drag queen does not automatically feed into some deep seated lust for unsafe sex acts. This eagerness to tie members of the community to the anchor of perversion is to cast a huge swath of the community overboard to sink in the ridiculous seas of meaningless buzz phrases we’ve been fighting against since sentiment against us was coined. I’ve done drag 6 times. It’s not sexual, it’s fun to do something outside of the gender norms.

People also tend to conflate drag and trans people- I’ve never understood that trope either. To do drag is to adopt a persona other than your own and create an exaggerated look that matches that- usually, but not always, a feminine one. To be trans is to feel that your gender does not match what you feel it is.

At it’s heart, this sort of sentiment is meant to “other” us, to dehumanise us. But every single human is human, no matter how good or bad they are, and to not fit your societal expectations is not automatically set to run parallel to not being deserving of, at very least, respect.

*Insert LGBTQIA person here* is trying to convert our children!

We can’t.
Firstly as I’ve mentioned, I’ve no idea how I’d go about converting someone to gay – either people have those feelings or they don’t. I don’t know the first thing about making someone feel something they don’t feel.
Secondly, even if we could, I wouldn’t.

I’ve slept with questioning men, men who wonder if they might have gay/ bi feelings. It never ends well – usually with being completely disregarded, sometimes with hate crimes… If my sexuality is so repellent to you why precisely would I want to foster that with you? And why, oh why, would I want to raise a child into a sexuality that (despite coming with good things), has been the cause of a significant portion of unhappiness for me in my life- usually at the hands of other people.

*Insert facet of the community here* is innately sexual, and shouldn’t be spoken about!

I am a gay man. Is it sexual when I go and buy stamps? Is it a part of my sexuality when I look at shoes in a shop? Is it a gay perversion when I go to the bathroom, make a cup of tea, answer my work phone, dry my clothes, itch my foot?

So often- too often, we are reduced to pastiches of the worst kind, sex crazed, kinky people who are only about that. We all brush our teeth (I hope), eat food, read, sleep… And I feel it prudent to ask people outside our community to please stop reducing us down to what we do with our genitals, and what we think about. Equally, a message for those in the community as much as outside of it- you don’t have to have engaged in same sex acts, or have transitioned, to be LGBTQIA. A gay or bi man who has never had sex with another man is still gay or bi. A trans man who hasn’t been able to start transition due to the woeful state of trans healthcare in the UK. It’s not about your perception of another person’s acts or presentation, it’s about theirs.

Opening a dialogue about LGBTQIA issues for younger people would not just help LGBTQIA youths but also those suffering their own issues- for example, speaking about the increased isolation and depression rates of LGBTQIA youths would also, naturally, have benefit for those who feel those same feelings but who are NOT part of the community. Speaking about the pressure that comes with sexualisation in a community where sex is (often but not always) the common denominator or reason you gain attention, would also feed back into those who are sexualised against their will in modern society. It can only give benefits to give an honest and open dialogue about difficulties people face, and the normalisation of those individuals.

Let’s stop catering to reactionaries & radicals

If you are genuinely so radicalised as to believe people will go on years long waiting lists for hormones and gender reassignment surgeries, or who will face ostracization from family and friends to live openly as they are, you are frankly more privileged than you could know. I, and I’m sure it’s not just me, am thoroughly exhausted of catering to fools who believe this nonsense. Their views should be scorned, ridiculed, debunked and those who cling to it like driftwood at sea should be shamed. You don’t get to cling to beliefs that are damaging in a very real way to huge groups of people when the evidence you are wrong -and you are- exists in such abundance. You are the anti-vaxxers of sexuality and gender presentation, buying into scurrilous conspiracy theories in place of thinking critically about human nature and the diversity encoded into our ways of reproducing. You shouldn’t be entertained or catered to, because you choose ignorance in a way we cannot choose our sexualities (to my knowledge) or genders.

Religious or “philosophical” entitlement to bigotry

Lets keep this brief for the Maya Forstater supporters in the room. Your choice to believe in all the wizardry of books about magic beings who create afterlives and moral lists of how we can be good people is yours, and you’re free to make it. But why you think for one moment that your beliefs should be able to impact on our right to live, our right to access healthcare, our right to urinate in public in peace, is one of the most confusing and yet enduring arguments in modern society. If you want to believe that all gay men are ravening predators, or that trans folk are somehow suffering from AGP (google it, it’s frankly too ridiculous for me to even explain), that’s not because you have founded proof of it- it’s because you choose to believe in bottom line bigotry, because your desperate need to “understand” something you’re not a part of means you are willing to believe nonsense recycled by others who are not a part of the community- or at best, are outliers of it- instead of putting aside your desperate need to apply prejudice and actually speak to the people you so fear and attempt to understand them. That, I assure you, is a problem, an issue, a shortfall, an imbalance with you- and is not something that should labour the life or happiness of a member of our community. To sum up -get a life, get an education- or get out.

Concluding words- and actions

Pride being a protest is a message that’s been gently moved to the back, in favour of a rebrand of a more peaceful word like, celebration, memorial or similar.

We exist in spite of those who would see us killed, beaten, bruised, arrested, raped, converted- and pride is a stark reminder that we can, that we should, that we must stand in defence of ourselves and each other, shoulder to shoulder in this constant march towards progress.

To know that we exist in a world where we could be murdered based on something so comparatively minor which has been made important by the collective idiocy of the society we’re in is exhausting sometimes- and it’s a sentiment that’s shared with many other members of society. Women face increased risk of violence, both physical and sexual, and yet a significant portion of gender criticality is based around the idea that cis women are somehow at loggerheads with trans rights. To deny the commonality is to deny common sense- and yet anti trans radicals do this often.

Society at large sees heterosexuality as a norm to be applied, chased, obtained, whereas I see all sexualities and gender presentations as the norm- genetic quirks but notable enough to be part of a melting pot of societal norms- there is not, and should not be, a hegemony of any one over another. Coexistence, surely, is the norm in a society who can and should foster acceptance.

And if society can’t foster coexistence, as the saying goes, it can expect resistance.