An interesting question cropped up at the Get Real. team meeting last night. We were discussing a sensitive topic for the commissioning email and sharing our thoughts. Should the LGBT+ or queer label be open to everyone who wishes to adopt it, or should there be restrictions involved and if so what should those restrictions be?
Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that no one has ownership of our label and by opening up the community you are giving people the chance to embrace aspects of their personality they may have otherwise shunned or not realised. As co-President of 1TQ, Trinity College’s LGBT+ society, I ensure all our events are open to everyone who wants to come along including straight allies who will always pop in for a free drink. This accessibility, I believe, gives closeted students the opportunity to be part of a community even if it’s under the guise of being a cis straight man.
I realise there are issues with this of course. I don’t think many LGBT+ people will be pleased to see pedophiles and other sexual minorities identifying with the movement. We also need to consider incestous relationships and the difficulties they bring with them. If the LGBT+ or queer label becomes inclusive of incestous relationships we need to be prepared to fight for the rights of those people.
We also considered asexual and aromantic people for a while and while I acknowledge that asexual people face a large degree of stigma and oppression today; the heterosexual, aromantic and polyamorous cis alpha male hardly faces any. Should these men be part of the community too despite having never faced any real oppression? And are their attitudes polyamorous in nature or are they misogynistic? I’m not quite so sure and I don’t think there is really a definitive answer.
Our priority, however, should be to provide LGBT+ people wherever they belong on the spectrum with a ‘safe space.’ This cannot be compromised because if we fail at this, we fail at being a community. It’s also the reason communities come to existence and later fail. If we are going to let people into our circles and spaces they need to be worthy of our trust. They need to try using the correct gender pronouns, understand that abuse of whatever nature is unacceptable and be willing to fight for the rights of other minorities under the LGBT+ umbrella.
Now… This is a discussion we need to have.
Hesham Mashhour (GR. Chief Editor)