i don't belong to the queer/tgd communities
i don't feel i ‘belong’ to the queer/tgd communities. i am, of course, a ‘member’ of those communities by virtue of being queer and transgenderqueer. But decades of experience and activism involving these communities have led me to feel that they project themselves in ways i don't, and can't, relate to. In some cases, they can feel actively marginalising.
The primary example of this is being ‘fabulous’, i.e. outgoing and colourful (both literally and figuratively). Both the queer and tgd communities are apparently very invested in representing themselves as ‘fabulous’. No, i don't think there's anything wrong with someone being ‘fabulous’; i'm here for it. Yes, i understand this is at least partly a response to being expected (at best) to remain in the closet, instead being “out, loud and proud”.
But this isn't me. Sure, i can be quite outgoing - particularly nowadays, having been authorised adhd meds that significantly reduce the overwhelm i experience in social situations. But outside of dagging around, my sartorial choices are mostly black, and some earthy greens. i certainly enjoy rainbow-on-black effects like black opal, or as in this cat photo:
but that's not a core part of how i present myself.
Other examples which aren't so pervasive, but still widespread enough to create a values-disjunct for me, include:
- Respectability politics. Again, i understand where this is coming from, but even setting aside the “throwing others under the bus” aspect[a], the marginalising of sexuality and kink in favour of more-palatable-to-the-middle-class “love is love” messaging tells me that core parts of who i am are only supported by the wider queer and tgd communities to the extent that i'm not public (i.e. effectively remain in the closet) about them.
- Egocentric consumerism and capitalist individualism[b], rather than solidarity and mutual aid, accompanied by the related sort of superficial ‘identity politics’ that i ranted about last year:
As a neurodivergent queer transgenderqueer, i actually feel much more like i belong in the neurodivergent communities. And i'm much more concerned as to whether someone is ‘neurodivergence-informed’ than whether they're ‘queer-informed’ or ‘tgd-informed’. (Not to mention that someone having ‘lived experience’ of being queer and/or tgd doesn't automatically imply that they'll be understanding or supportive of me: cf. e.g. cis lesbian transphobia, or the trans women who dismissed me as “just a crossdresser”.) Most of the queer and tgd people i feel connected to, and who basically share my values, are autistic and/or adhd.
Feeling like i don't ‘belong’ to the queer and tgd communities used to significantly bother me, but now that i'm connecting with fellow neurodivergent people, it bothers me a lot less. Still, if queer and tgd communities are serious about trying to be as inclusive as possible, they might like to reflect on the ways their language and imagery might be marginalising certain subgroups within their communities.☙
[a] Cf. this remark of mine:
Respectability politics involves a more privileged group throwing a more marginalised group under the bus for personal gain. In that sense, it's less ‘pragmatic’ and more ‘sociopathic’.
[b] As distinct from e.g. anarchist individualism. To quote anarchist Émile Armand, writing in 1907:
His relationships with his comrades are based on reciprocity, on mutualism, on comradeship, and take numerous forms, all voluntary: free agreements of every type and in all spheres; respect for the pledged word and the carrying out of promises and engagements freely consented to. It is in this fashion that the individualist of our kind practices mutual aid in his species.
— “Anarchist Individualism as a Life and Activity”