Speaking of allies…
At my school each year there is an LGBT/Queer Symposium, student run, planned, organized, everything. This is accompanied by a party in the evening called the “Genderfuck” party which has, in recent years been vastly transformed to a party where the motto is: “Boys wear dresses, girls were less.” The party has, in the time I’ve been here, been an incredibly unsafe space for women, for queer people, for just about everyone who isn’t male and straight. For this reason, the planning committee for the symposium officially disassociated. There has been a recent backlash of queers arguing that it is the fault of the planning committee for not fully enough engaging with the issues and giving up on something without fighting to make it a safer space. It is an opinion that I fundamentally disagree with but can reasonably discuss.
However a recent comment has really pissed me off. One woman said that:
I feel like I’m definitely in that cross-section of people that sager is abandoning by disconnecting themselves from genderfuck. I’m straight and white, so there is no appeal to me in the lecture topics this year. also, doesn’t the committee get that it can be uncomfortable to show up to a minority event as a member of the majority? how easy do they think it is for a straight white person to waltz into a discussion about multi-ethnic queers? it’s kind of a running theme at swarthmore: let’s see who can make the most specific minority group. next year’s sager theme will be southeast asian transgendered orphans.
These are the moments when I feel like all I can say is really?
Really? Really you think that we should be catering to your comfort? Really you think that your interests are of primary importance to the queer community? Like we don’t have important shit to work out and instead spend hours dreaming up ways to entertain you… oh wait we already did, feel free to enjoy Will & Grace. This is a different kind of symposium, and you’re right in noting it was not made with you in mind. What a shock, like the entire world doesn’t already center around, focus on issues that are relevant to straight white people. It is so important to you to have everything centered around your own identities that we can’t even have a symposium that addresses what we are interested in. Really? YOU feel uncomfortable? welcome to my life, spaces were not designed with me in mind. I don’t fit into things, people say racist things, say homophobic things and I am expected to endure a predominantly white college that only nominally invests in diversity.
This person went on to share this gem:
this is yet another example of swat’s queer community closing its doors to straight folks who don’t feel like going to a qsa meeting or gay rights lecture
Closing our doors? Really? Come right in, I’m sorry that we are not pandering for your happiness and excitement. But let me tell you, as a queer person of color who has only a few times a year when this college invests in things that I care about, this is a time when I feel really comfortable. And I’m sorry if you feel that you aren’t interested in, or don’t care to go to a “qsa meeting or a gay rights lecture,” me neither, but I wouldn’t suppose to ask them to change what they are doing when I have not attended.
That being said I would like to make a formal apology to everyone who will not get laid this year on the backs of people who worked hard to create a symposium that you don’t care to, or give a shit to attend.
And mostly a big FUCK YOU to everyone who can’t appreciate all the work that has gone to the trouble to build a beautiful symposium full of amazing people that speak to a wide intersection of people on this campus (queer people, people of color, (dis)abled folks, survivors and our allies)… but that’s just to name a few.
So I hope that people can make it to the symposium, fight through the discomfort, be queer, be an ally, be yourself, just don’t be disrespectful.
Sager Symposium will be March 26-28.
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Tags: allies, racism