"I’m in the LGBTQ club on campus and their whole mission is to give you a safe space where you don’t have to be labeled, but I still feel weird when I go to meetings. I like boys/girls/whatever, so I identify with both straight and queer cultures. But it sucks when I’m out in the general population and am judged for acting boyish but still have a crush on Joseph Gordon Levitt, and when I’m at meetings, everyone just assumes I’m a lesbian- no one even bothered to ask me about it. It’s frustrating. Help!"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
You know what JGL_LUVR_6969, I think you have an incredible opportunity to make people think again when judging someone. You’re obviously interested in being involved with the community, making change, being yourself and being a part of your school’s LGBTQ club AND THE ONLY THING THAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK IS THE CLUB ITSELF. Which is so interesting, bc like, you should go there and feel awesome about being who you are and fighting for the equality of every human being REGARDLESS of who they are or how they feel, yaknowwhatimean?!
I suggest the following:
Talk to the prezzie of the LGBTQ club and say ‘hey, I’d love to take five minutes at the next meeting to bring up an issue I’ve been thinking about lately’ and if this prezzie is a good prezzie then prezzie will be like ‘i’m the prezzie, that sounds great’ and during your five minutes you say “I submitted a question to the website everyoneisgay.com and while their answers were perfect and amazing (like always), I would really love to know what you guys think I should do” and then read your question.
People tend to react differently when you look them in the eye and ask them why they’re doing something that hurts your feelings. They’re usually like ‘oh snap, i am being a fartwad’ and they realize, much more than they would realize by simply reading an email or checking out a website. Ask them, ask them what you should do to be accepted by them as you are, no questions asked.
Hot damn this shit pisses me off. IT PISSES ME STRAIGHT OFF.
There is a huge tendency in so much of the queer community (and so many other communities) to admit those who ‘belong,’ and then seal the doors off to anyone who ‘they’ deem as ‘not a member.’ This happens between marginalized communities themselves and between those communities and those who may be ‘less marginalized’…whatever that means. As though the only people who can belong or work together for human equality are those who belong to a certain set of identities. DOES EVERYONE HEAR HOW SILLY THAT SOUNDS?!
Our identities are not static, unchanging things. We develop and grow and learn and meet others and explore and question and love and date and kiss and those experiences vary and change over the course of our lives. So many people who I speak with say, ‘It was difficult for me to come out because I didn’t know which label to choose…’ or ‘I don’t feel like I belong in any particular community because I wasn’t one thing or another.’ Those judgements and assumptions create divisions that make others (like you!) hesitant to work together for the things that we ALL believe in.
I love what Dannielle has suggested above. The absolute BEST thing that could come of the position that you are in is that you use it to open the minds of those who have made the assumptions. Don’t come out swinging, but approach the issue at a meeting and explain that it made you a bit uncomfortable, and that if you felt that way, there are likely others who felt similarly. In most cases, when we hear the experience of someone else, it is enough to help us understand how we have erred and to be more careful and attentive to them in the future.