So recently I was hanging out in a queer progressive kind of space with some people I know and some people I know less well. I don't think any of them knew I was on Quench. At least, we hadn't talked about it. Anyhow, someone brought up the topic of Quench and someone else said, "yes, well, i generally like it but it seems like they've had some off-topic and random posts sometimes."
I am imagining this to be the result of my shenanigans. (eg. the post about the giant ball of tape and international relations). Anyhow, like a good activist, I responded with a question, "What about these off-topic posts is bothering you?"
And she responded, "there are some people who just keep whining about healthcare and poverty. I mean, the blog is supposed to be about sexuality and feminism or something?"
Firstly, I have never actually seen a mission statement for Quench. Maybe it would be cool to have one of those second lines under our title like QueerToday does.
So I answer, "do you see anti-poverty work and queer or feminist work as related?"
And she basically took a long route to get to saying "no."
Those of you who are new to this blog may not know me, so just for clarity's sake, I strongly disagree. In a world where some families hold wealth for generations, passed down through marriage and children (these are families that queers are all too often kicked out of or unable to enter), I think that sexuality and class are certainly related. In a world where people who are visibly queer often have many obstacles to face in terms of getting employment, it is hard not to link income and gender and sexuality expression. In a world where health care is often expected to be distributed through employers and through marriage, sexuality and access to healthcare are linked. In a world where there is a marriage movement working against women, particularly women of color, working-class folks (especially women of color), and queer folks, in the name of "family values," we are all linked in a struggle - or at least we should be. (see BeyondMarriage.org for more information). In a world where LGBT youth are kicked out of their homes and become homeless at alarming frequencies (some studies say 1/3 of homeless youth identify as LGBT), how can we say queerness and homelessness are not connected?
Examples - one study in DC showed that
In LA, another showed that of transgender people
- One third of transgender people were earning $10,000 or less per year.
- 29% of respondents were unemployed.
- Only one in four respondents reported being satisfied with his or her housing situation.
- 13% of respondents reported not feeling safe in their current housing.
- 15% reported losing a job due to discrimination in the workplace.
- Only 58% had paid employment.
- 64% made less than $25,000 a year.
- Over 40% did not have health insurance.
- One in five did not have stable housing.
And in working together on a variety of issues, people with power and privilege only hurt our movement by claiming our struggles to be independant. As a white person, if I claim that working on sexuality is independent from working on race, how many other people will avoid working with me because I am working for such a narrow group. I am calling on people in our communities to open up their eyes and realize - it is only white people who have the privilege to act as if sexuality and race are unrelated, it is only rich people who have the privilege to act as if sexuality and class are unrelated. Those of us who are white and have class privilege need to push ourselves and each other to stop hindering the LGBT movement.
Hopefully, someday we can not only stop hindering it but we would help it as well. This is going to involve a lot less talking and a lot more listening in order to allow us to use the resources we have access to to effect social change.