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[personal profile] jimhines, all round good egg, is doing a second series of his Invisible guest blogs where he invites people from marginalized identities to talk about (lack of) representation in speculative fiction. I have to admit I had a bit of an emotional reaction to seeing a Jewish one. Sort of a meta thing, almost, like I never expected to see anyone like me represented in essays about how there isn't much representation of people like me. And of course Harbowy's experience is not exactly mine, but I think there are probably more similarities than with a Jewish person from New York.

When I wrote my own take on representation, it was with great trepidation; I was afraid I might be a horrible racist derailer for even talking about stuff like that. And in fact I got loads of supportive and thinky comments comments, which was lovely, but it also made me pause. Was I just an example of one of those white people who get lots of kudos and appreciation when we talk about race, whereas POC would be much more likely to receive hostility?

I think I'm just always going to be that bit uncomfortable in discussions of race, because it always feels like there's two sides, privileged and oppressed, and I don't fit well into either. But everybody who's privileged says they're not really privileged, because everybody has some hardships in their life and people don't want to accept that society is loaded in their favour, so maybe I'm just doing that. And equally many people who are marginalized have internalized stuff going on and don't think their oppression counts and don't see the systematic underpinnings of what might just seem like random personal bad luck.

It's kind of risky to bring this into the same discussion, but it feels somewhat connected to my feelings about where I fit into issues that affect gender and sexual minorities. Like, I care about various aspects of GSM rights, but I often feel like I care about them as an ally at best, and sort of forget that I need this too. I mean, I basically move through the world as a relatively high status woman, and I'm married to a relatively high status man; homophobia has very limited practical effects in my day-to-day life. I don't have to deal with immigration issues or violence or having my gender invalidated. I'm still bi, though. (And I'm in a similar position to Garwood in that my opposite sex relationship doesn't exactly match heteronormative expectations around things like living together and having children.)

I mean, I saw a comment on Twitter to the effect that every single Queer person worries that they're not Queer enough. And I sort of smiled in recognition, but I think it's not that I have anxiety about whether I "count", it's that I don't want to take up resources and energy meant for people who have much more urgent problems than me. I'm also really bad at noticing biphobia whatsoever. I don't feel in the least excluded when people say "gay rights" or "homophobia" instead of QUILTBAG/LGBT+/GSM rights or homo/bi/transphobia. Mentally when I see people talking about lesbians I usually assume they also mean people like me, even though I've never identified as a lesbian, unless they explicitly talk about separatists or otherwise contrast lesbians to other Queer women. Equally when I see heterosexist assumptions I might be annoyed, but many of the assumptions do in fact apply to me, so I'm not personally affected. I sort of assume the categories include me, even though there's a lot of evidence out there that they actually don't, there are plenty of well-meaning activists and organizations who genuinely forget that bi people exist and the language they use reflects and contributes to that.

And aside from being bi, which has a fairly clear status, there are more subtle things. There was some really interesting discussion on my post about talking about kinks you're not into, about who belongs under the Queer umbrella. And that discussion has dissipated into access locked and offline places, which is as it should be since some people would suffer real consequences if they talked about their gender and sexual identities in public, and some people feel that they're basically straight white guys and shouldn't take up space needed for discussion of people more directly impacted by this stuff. But I wanted to link to it, partly because [livejournal.com profile] siderea has some really fascinating stuff about gay history and the tension between the "gay lifestyle" and "born this way" narratives. And partly cos if people are comfortable continuing the discussion here I would appreciate more thoughts as I'm working through this.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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