<I wrote this in response to my twitter debate. I posted this on one of my other blogs, but wanted to repost it here without reblogging. Gosh, I should be a politician or somethin’. It’s not 110% perfect but I think it’s a good primer for the person.>
“Why the no penis rule?”
It’s really not about the no penis rule. If you think about it, there’ll be lots of penis in the room at a women and trans-only dance party.
All queers are not made equal. We lump LGBTQ+ in the same group, but each person experiences their own amounts of oppression. There’s a lot to say about the “oppression olympics” and “hierarchies of oppression”, but the thing is we take for granted the privelages we experience.
I can cross the boarder literally without suspicion because I am white, and I appear middle class. For a person of colour, or another minority person, they are “suspect” more. It’s invisible to me, I don’t see this because it’s not me.
So why are gay men not allowed to go to oral groove?
If you think about it, oral groove literally happens maybe three times a year. Four is pushing it, but there’s usually an october dance, maybe a spring dance, and a pride dance. Three nights, let’s say the event runs from 11:00pm to 3:00am, that’s about 12 hours a year where women and trans people can dance, and party, and have a fun time together.
So, it’s not really a big window of time. There’s women and women-identified marches in Hamilton, but let’s focus strictly on recreation. 12 hours. It’s not a heck of a lot of time.
Oral groove acts as a safe space for women and trans people. Why do they need to have a safe space? Why are you excluded?
I like oral groove because I can go there-12 hours a year, and I know I am there among queer woman and trans people. I feel literally high because there are so many people in the same place-people I am interested in, people who might like me, people I can make out with without feeling like a party-trick. Or, if I don’t want to shave my armpits, I don’t have to worry about someone calling it sick or gross or weird. It feels safe for me for these reasons, and many others. Other people might have other reasons why they like to go to oral groove.
Women and trans people experience a different, and I would argue more, kinds of oppressions because they are women and trans. You might have been called gay, fag, or faggot because something about your manner or dress was “gay” or “feminine”.
But women and trans folk experience a lot of misogyny. Gay men, and cis-men (men who do not identify as trans in any way, and are happy with their “biological” genders) are often misogynistic to trans folk and women. Or, if not outright, benefit from the way that misogyny works in queer or normative systems.
Do you ever worry about not being hired because you’re not feminine enough? Do you worry about being misgendered, and having people insist on using your “real” name? Do you ever have a hard time being seen as queer, and not a “fag-hag” or a straight girl? Do you have a hard time supporting you and your partner because you both make less money than your male counterparts? Are you branded a “man-hating feminist lesbian”? because you believe in feminism?
Do you constantly have to explain your gender identity and experience to others because they are curious, or just don’t get it? Do people tell you that you’re not a “real” man or a “real” woman because you don’t have this or that trait?
And I am not saying that oral groove Fear the Queers is going to go out and aim to change the world or address these issues. It’s a dance party, with costumes.
It’s a place where I can bond with people who have similar experiences.
It’s not so much that this is a “womyn and queer separatist” thing. I wouldn’t frame it as lesbians, queer women, and trans people as trying to leave the struggles of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Something that feminism tries to do, and I think queer politics tries to do, is take the position of the most vulnerable persons. I think this is a response to this idea.
If there was a queer person of colour dance-I wouldn’t want to go and intrude upon someone elses space where they feel safe away from white people. Because it’s really something precious. 12 hours a year.
You know, I wouldn’t mind joining the Hamilton Gay Mens Chorus because I like to sing, but I’m not going to. I recognize that it’s important that there’s a gay men’s chorus.
I don’t think this takes away from queer politics, or a queer community. I think it diversifys and strengthens it. It makes it more complex, it looks at the fact that I have different issues and oppressions than you do, but that doesn’t make either of us less valid. I don’t want a monolithic queer movement. I don’t want to just look at marriage, adoption, and being out at work, and ignore all the other hundreds and thousands of complexities that exist in our own city.
I am sure this isn’t everything there is to say on the topic, but if you are really curious you can come to Oral Groove, and talk to someone at the door about these issues. Or, if you want to go to a queer event that’s open to everyone, you’re welcome to attend the following:
Oct 27: Movers & Shakers
The Well Presents: Movers & Shakers – Facing Fear, Fighting Back
Marking LGBTT2SIQQ History Month
Saturday, October 27
Doors Open: 1:00pm
Keynote Speakers: 1:30pm
2012 Pride Awards Ceremony: 3:00pm
Local History Panel: 3:30pm
Performance by Sky Gilbert: 5:00pm
Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart Street
(Between Bay N. and MacNab N.) – Venue is fully wheelchair accessible.
And, I am sure there are other people there who will be able to answer your questions if you have more about why oral groove exists, and why specific queer spaces exist.