The weekend continued good, if tiring.
Following my brief stop-over at the Sex Workers’ Open University, it was over to a party and social organised by bits of the Gingerbeer forum. This describes itself as “the local area information guide for the lesbian and bisexual women’s community”, which itself is something of a hostage to fortune. For, as anyone who knows anything about the internecine politics of the LGBT scene will know: just placing the L and the B on the same page is, in some quarters, enough to bring on a severe attack of the vapours.
It was a good evening…mostly attended by friends i knew from other similar evenings…but it was sorely under-attended. By around 1 am, most of the early arrivals had either departed – or were now sat around debating the iniquities of lesbian factionalism. (And if that is a tad introverted for some readers, just move on by: there’ll be another post along in a minute).
It only required reference to the Judea Poular Front, or for someone to utter the word “splitters” – and the homage to Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” would have been complete.
Huh? I hear the outsiders stutter, shaken from their cosy belief that LGBT (as well as its more recent acronymic extensions such as Q, Q or I) was some sort of harmonious whole – or alternatively, some well-oiled plot to gay the world.
Sadly i must disillusion them. As a movement, we are about as brotherly – sisterly even – as a friendly get together of Italian Socialist Parties. To begin with, there’s all the misapprehension and confusion and difference between the different elements. G & T may be a happy combination in beverage terms: not always, not often, politically.
Then there’s the various internal and sometimes even bloodier debates within each group. can someone who is B ever be properly described as L? Are “girly girls welcome at Lesbian events? A survey in the latest issue of Diva finds many in this group have had difficulties gaining admission to Lesbian clubs.
That, in turn, is many things: on the one hand, a (political) conception of what it is to be L; on t’other a reaction by age against youthful and possibly fashionalble experimentation.
Tut! How can us non-heteronormative types ever expect to be accepted if we can’t all just get on and love one another.
Except maybe that premise is itself flawed. Anyone of any sort of LGBT stripe is likely to find they have one common cause around self-defence. As has oft been noted: the bigot who kicks someone’s head in because they are a poof is probably not making any sort of fine distinction between, say, Gay and Trans.
Oh, sure: those same haters might have a soft spot for Lesbians…but usually of the soft-focus Emanuelle fantasy kind. Such illusions rarely survive contact with the real thing!
But apart from self-defence, what do we have in common? Its very similar to issues of race: individuals of Jewish or Arabic background might equally attract the attention of the racist because they “look foreign”: but chances are that on a whole host of other issues they will themselves be on opposite sides.
Poles, Travellers and West Indians may all suffer attacks based on their perceived racial origins: but that doesn’t mean they have much else in common.
And so to LGBT. There are pragmatic reasons for us to offer one another support. But that does not inevitably extend across the board.
Nor are we all the same within each different category.
In fact, at the end of the day, the only unifying truth is that those who want socials like the one that happened last night need to support them…or they will eventually fade away. That is all.