fighting the fight with allies, shouldn’t be like this.

this weekend was, well, not so fun.

I think I need to find another cause. And this sucks. I believe in equality. so I can fight that on many fronts, so its not the end of the world. The problem is I don’t have the energy to fight it on all fronts, at the same time. Especially since I don’t feel like I have a safe space now that I’m back in the states. Especially when I have to fight the fight with very little support within a group that is supposed to be a safe space.

I’ve been doing a lot of work fighting for equal marriage. (that’s same sex marriage to all of you who aren’t clued into the lingo.) I’ve been having a few doubts about my involvement.

1. I would much rather abolish the word marriage from legal documents. fundemental unit of the patriarchy and all that.
2. the debate is phrased as any “TWO” people should be able to get married. that leaves out a lot of my friends and their relationships. Polyamorous groups should not be denied hospital visitation rights because only two of the people are really married. There should be a document that says, “hey we’re family, we take care of each other and we have the rights and responsibilities of being family”
3. this document should be available regardless of the sexual or non sexual nature of the relationships. If I want my best friend as my next of kin and we look after each other as family, it shouldn’t matter that our relationship isn’t romantic in nature.

now on top of these concerns, I’m getting fed up with the sexism in the movement. let me retarget that. I’m getting fed up with sexism in the group I’m working with. oh, and the racist comments, and the biphobia, and transphobia and other remarks I probably haven’t even noticed yet. (plus everyone likes to tell me about how they like bloody steak and other products of rape, torture and murder.)

I understand people aren’t perfect. I mess up all the time. I’m still learning about how to mindfully watch my language. But I’d like to think I’m genuinely trying. This weekend was the leadership retreat, so we had a lot of time with each other. We also, largely because i had earlier brought up my concerns, had a discussion about being more mindful in our speech.

It was a very useful discussion as it helped me identify who I wanted to work with more and who I wanted to avoid. I had been trying to take everything with a grain of salt, focus on the issue at hand, all that stuff. but there are some things I can’t ignore. a member of the “team” posted a racist remark on my facebook.

I updated my status to reflect that one of my friends is looking for a home for their dog. the Nice Guy(tm) NG commented and I commented back:

NG: I was going to type something really off message. *lips sealed*
me: you get a gold star for keeping it to yourself. I’m very proud of you.
other dudely man: But now I just want to know Nice Guy(tm)’s off-color comment about dogs. :(
me: I already deleted it. I don’t allow that type of thing on any page associate with me.
NG: You’re so silly Lauren. ♥

now you can guess that there was a comment by the Nice Guy that isn’t shown in this exchange. as i deleted I don’t have the original text, but it was something like: “Plus my Vietnamese friend would be upset if I started talking about how he eats dog”

wha…?

so I deleted. I would have removed the person from being my friend, but we work together. so I had a discussion with the chapter leader. and thats how we ended up with the discussion.

this is in addition to people slut shaming, constant use of the word “bitch”, gossip about how the bi-guy is really gay, (“I mean really.. he’s just sooo effeminate”). wha? in a group that is fighting for “equality”?

in the course of the discussion the racist Facebook comment was brought up by the Nice Guy(tm). he doesn’t get how it’s racist. “I mean, my friend really does eat dog, it’s a true statment!”

wha?

I start getting really upset. he feels upset and “victimized” because I didn’t explain it to him at the time. He doesn’t get it. It is obvious that I should spoon feed him the information. and he’s studied sociology, so he knows about this stuff.

I mean, come on. I call bull shit on that. actually bull shit can be useful as fertilizer, I call carnivore shit on that. because their poo is that much more gross and full of disease. (I love kitties, but they have super icky poo) The point is, if he truly believed it wasn’t “that” offensive, why did he self screen at first. why not just make the statement if its not racist?

so that was awkward for everyone who witnessed our heated argument.

The next morning at breakfast everyone was talking about how if we make everything PC then we can’t do anything, because everything is offensive to someone. the thing for me is, who are we offending. am i offending someone I am at odds with? am I offending the Mormons? because generally my existence offends a lot of people. and trying to not be hurtful to oppressed groups when our individual privilege gets in our way of being compassionate, is different from the “moral Majority” being offended that women want equal pay. (or whatever).

the burden should be taken up by the privileged. This is our way of dealing with our own biases and recognizing ways to improve ourselves as human beings. so the breakfast group completely diminished the impact of the discussion the previous night.

The leadership team is mostly gay men. there is one bi guy, me, another straight girl and a bi girl. could it be at all possible we’d have more women if there were fewer sexist jokes? maybe?

the moment that takes the cake. we go the the park, someone’s boyfriend meets up with us. He has volunteered and as the bf of one of the leaders so he is tagging along on the leadership retreat. At the park he decides to share a joke that someone sent him:

“a man is getting into bed with his wife, she says ‘I have a headacke’ he says, ‘perfect, i’ve just been powdering my penis with asprin, you can take it orally or anally”

what progress. I call him out on it. he tries to backtrack and apologize, “i’m not really sexist”, and “all my female friends thought was funny” because a man talking about forcing his penis in a woman’s mouth or anus
must be hilarious. wtf? yeah.

I get up and go for a walk and call a friend. I need to get away from this person. eventually I come back. I’m tired and I left half my stuff at the house where we are having the “retreat” I end up sleeping there a while, then meeting up with a friend. she lets me know, there are lots of causes, maybe there’s another way to be involved in the issue that is not with this group. those are probably true statements

I have brought in so many volunteers, I have raised so much money for this group. at least I know the money goes back into the community. I do think they use money well as an org. I think that the type of work being done is useful. but I’m too tired to fight all these fights at once.

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