Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coalitions are not safe spaces

I’ve been thinking a lot about coalitions lately. Coalitions and communities, about how those two concepts overlap and how they are very different creatures with very different functions, and different needs.

Some of these musings were sparked by a conversation with a friend of mine, who mentioned how he had spoken up in an LGBTQIQ support group about his experience as a transgender person and gotten nothing but an an awkward silence back from the other members. This led to a discussion of the limitations of the LGBTQIQ (etc) umbrella, and how the word “community,” so commonly applied to the LGBTQIQ movement, is often a misnomer. The issues faced by lesbian and gay people are not the same as issues faced by bisexual people are very much not the same as issues faced by transpeople are not identical to issues faced by intersex people. The issues faced by queer people of color are not the same as those faced by queer White people. The issues preoccupying affluent and middle class queer folks may be completely irrelevant to queer people living in poverty. And all too often the umbrella doesn’t cover everyone the way it’s supposed to or assumed to.

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