Be an ally all the time

Rightly or wrongly, the selection of Donald Trump as the President of the United States has sparked fears in many people for the future. Fears are particular.y being felt members of the Hospanic, Latino, black, Muslim and the LGBTQ+ communities. It has sparked the on – line safety pin camapign, which originally appeared in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the UK, admidst a spike in racially motivated violence. Now the campaign has hit America due to uncertainty about migration, the treatment of Hispanics and Latinos, police brutality toward often unarmed African Americans and racial profiling and fear of    anti – discrimination protections meant to protect the LGBTQ+ community being repealed. Already, there have been reports of people of colour and LGBTQ+ people being physically attacked (Trump supporters have also been physically harmed by alleged Clinton supporters, and that’s disgusting, too).

Not unexpectedly, this campaign has some sceptics and downright critics from conservatives and people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community. Some people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community have labelled it as little more than a way for cis, white and straight people to feel good.

 

I get both sides. I think any sign that shows that a person stands in solidarity with minorities is a good thing. Personally, seeing the pin campaign and other social media trends like the rainbow profile filter after SCOTUS ruling on same – sex marriage and memes expressing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre in June. These things in themselves aren’t bad. In fact, I found them comforting. It said to me that members of the LGBTQ+ community do have people that care. Personally, it gave me a little assurance that I can be honest on here without the fear losing people I care about (that has been a genuine fear I’ve felt over the years). These fears are starting to subside.

However, any form of allyship – whether toward ethnic minorities or toward the LGBTQ+ community has to be a 24/7 effort. The problem with many social media justice initiatives is that they often die out as quick as they start. It also rarely reflects and examines the scope of a problem. Wearing a safety pin, or changing a profile picture filter, while is most likely coming from a good place, doesn’t substitute real action: criticising racial slurs, actively protesting against racism, working to close disparity between Caucasian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, condemning homophobia, bi  – phobia, trans – phobia, a- phobia, pan – phobia, etc. It doesn’t replace actually BEING there for LGBTQ+ friends and family members and confronting people who compare gay people to paedophiles (yes, that does happen, especially on social media*). If you call someone out in real life, make sure that every precaution is taken to make yourself safe. Be an ally, not a martyr.

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t always easy nor do we always succeed. Who hasn’t heard a racial slur, and failed to call it out? I think we’ve all been in situations. Don’t beat yourself up about missed opportunities. Just be willing to stamp it out, and, if you can, make a conscious effort to confront it next time.

Here what it comes down to: Affican – Americans, ATSI Australians, Hispanics and Latinos can’t suddenly throw away their racial heritage. It’s with them ALL their lives. People who are LGBTQ+ can’t just shake off their feelings. Very often, the feelings start when a person is young and often carries on all their lives. They don’t get to opt out. Allies, on the other hand, do. The choice is yours. If you genuinely want to be an ally, be one ALL the time, not just when a profile filter pops up or another Twitter hashtag trend appears. Because we’re talking about feal lives, not a simple slogan.

 

What do you wish allies understood? What do you want them to do?

*I just want to point out that the comparing gays to paedophiles has appeared on different Pages. It has nothing to do with anyone who I’m friends with.

 

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Asexuality and Culture

I’m working on a Cultural Competence module at the moment, and all of a sudden, I thought about culture and asexuality.

It’s no surprise, that before someone realises they’re asexual, or come out to themselves, the world can be quite a lonely place for people who don’t experience much, if any sexual attraction. I’m guessing the majority of modern pop culture (music, etc), just seems weird, many (not all), don’t like or get sex scenes in movies. In high school/ early adulthood, asexuals can feel bit isolated from friends when they start talking about sex, relationships, etc (I get that). Sex ed can just feel alienating. Counselling can be a negative experience (although I am noticing that some major LGBTQ+ friendly advocacy groups like “Wipeout Homophobia” know we exist. Yay! Also, Twitter group Bi and Existing acknowledged Asexuality Awareness Week, which I think is great.

The Internet has been a blessing to many asexual people. People have been able to find the label for starters and things start falling into place. Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (asexuality.org) has become a great source of information and connection since it’s launch in 2001 (not for me, I can never remember my passwords! lol). TV shows still have a bit to answer for. American drama, House was was fiercely criticised in 2012 over it’s portrayal of asexuality as a medical condition that could be fixed. To my knowledge, not much else in pop culture has dealt with asexuality (not that’s been aired in Australia, anyway). I’ve written quite a bit about media coverage, so I won’t rehash all that again, just to say some has been quite good, others, not so much.

Internet groups/ forums dedicated to asexuality gives asexual people, those with questions, or even people with asexual partners, the possibility to gain knowledge in order to better understand asexuality. A fact that i think people realise quite quickly is that, like everyone else, asexuals are a diverse bunch. One “Carnival of Aces” participant last month said that he identified more with the gay culture than what he calls “heteronormative”, despite his lack of sexual attraction. Other asexuals, especially those who are homoromantic get frustrated by the often sexualised nature of gay culture.

I’ve written before that I really don’t really get into all the symbols often tied with asexuality, probably except the flags; both the general asexuality one (white, purple and black), and the flags that represent all the romantic orientations. When I first came to identify as asexual, I was also fascinated by the black ring symbol, but not so much any more (heck, I just thought of it just then.).

Like I said before, asexuals are diverse. The world can be a lonely place, but I’m quietly confident it’ll get better. All any of us can do, is just be ourselves, stand up and speak out when we need to and hope the world will come around (which I’m quietly confident we willl… more on that at a later date).

The most important is that we first anx foremost accept ourselves. I’m very strong about that. Continual denial and self – loathing doesn’t do anyone any good, especially your piece of mind. It’s a journey that I hope we’re all on.

I Think We May Have New Supporters!!!

On Twitter a few days ago, I tweeted anti – homophobia campaign group Wipe Out Homophobia asking whether they support asexuals in their campaigns. I got a tweet back saying they did.

Just had a look at the bisexual twitter feed, Bi and Existing, and there was a tweet shouting support for Asexual Awareness Week.

Looks like visibility at least from some sectors of the LGBT+ community is reaching out to asexual people, which can’t be a bad thing.

Misandry Should Be Condemned As Much As Misogyny

WARNING: this post mentions domestic violence and abuse. If this is triggering for you, proceed with caution. 

 

There is a hashtag trend apparently floating around Reddit #EndFathersDay (according to Twitchy.com). According to the blogger, it was meant to be a parody, I’m guessing of the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter. If it’s meant to be satirical, frankly, I don’t find it funny, and if it isn’t, it’s atrocious.

Firstly, hate campaigns, including misandry are just cheap. In my honest opinion, it takes away from the issue of violence against women, rather than successfully condemning it.

Secondly, what about men who have been abused, either as adults or children? Shouldn’t they have a voice as well as female victims? Statistically, as I understand, the majority of domestic violence in the West is perpetrated by men and the majority of victims are girls and women. But there are men who have been or are victims of abuse and, like female victims, their voices should be heard. Recently in the UK, there was a social experiment where they had a man and a woman having a physical altercation. When the woman was being hit and shoved, onlookers rightfully intervened and the man was rebuked. However, when the tables were turned and the man was being physically assaulted by the woman, no one intervened and some people were even amused rather than horrified. I just habpve to ask ‘why?’.

One theory I have is that we have had a warped sense of what is ‘masculinity’ for too long. That has bred indifference, as well as hatred of men in the West.men can’t be victims, only perpetrators of violence. This warped vision of masculinity has also affected the way women want to be perceived because they wasn’t to reject the notion of feminity, but also adopting “masculine” traits that society condemns when exercised by men. Why can’t those traits be condemned outright for both men and women?

Please note, I am in no way defending violence agai st women or watering down it’s prevalence or impact. What I’m arguing is that misandry shouldn’t be tolerated, like misogyny and violence against women should not be tolerated. If we want gender equality, we need to work together, not against each other. I’ve argued before that reverse discrimination doesn’t help anyone, neither does division (see “Elitism Shouldn’t Be Encouraged By Anyone”). Two wrongs don’t make a right.