#JuneByLGBTQ? May 5, 2015 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Seeing as next month is Pride in much of the country, I'm wondering how the LGBTQ members of Metafilter would do something similar to #JulyByWomen and #MarchByWomen hashtags.
posted by roomthreeseventeen to MetaFilter-Related at 1:47 PM (381 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

I like it! Theme months are basically the only thing that motivate me to make FPPs.
posted by zeptoweasel at 2:10 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just this morning I noticed yet another solid FPP by a mefite who I don't think ever posted to the front page before WomensMarch and now has something like 40 posts.

This is a great idea.
posted by phunniemee at 2:17 PM on May 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


I just checked my profile and apparently gay is my most commonly used tag.
posted by andoatnp at 2:27 PM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'd read 'em. :)
posted by zarq at 3:29 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes please!
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:56 PM on May 5, 2015


I hate to be the dissenting voice that points out the downsides of this, and since there aren't any, I won't.
posted by uosuaq at 4:09 PM on May 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


Doooo iiiit!
posted by odinsdream at 4:10 PM on May 5, 2015


Great idea! The theme months have led to so much interesting stuff on the front page.
posted by billiebee at 4:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hate to be the dissenting voice that points out the downsides of this, and since there aren't any, I won't.

I have a weird sense of disquiet I can't quite put my finger on. We had a distinct belief that women were underrepresented among people making FPPs, but I don't know that that's the case with queer people. I'm perfectly happy for a barrage of queer people coming along saying they feel intimidated making FPPs (generally or because they're queer), but otherwise I'm missing what we're trying to accomplish.

(In particular, my gut says we see an uptick in queer content due to Pride as it is and a theme month makes it feel a bit like queer people are being expected to be producing queer content for a site that isn't particularly queer.)
posted by hoyland at 4:27 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would participate. It'd be a nice nudge to post again, as apparently I only get motivated during theme months.
posted by Stacey at 4:38 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


(In particular, my gut says we see an uptick in queer content due to Pride as it is and a theme month makes it feel a bit like queer people are being expected to be producing queer content for a site that isn't particularly queer.)

I don't know why this comes up every time, but it does. It's not about having a month full of queer content. It's about having a month where the community says "you, yes you, your participation here is welcome and encouraged!"

The women's months aren't about having special lady-centric posts for a month. Shit, I think I had two separate posts during March about baby pigs. Go read through the posts from July and March! Women were using the tags to post about everything! The only side effect for the site is that more women posted about things that were interesting to them.

There is zero pressure during the women's months for women to post about women's issues. Likewise, queer people don't need to restrict themselves to queer issues. Folks can post about anything they want.

Like baby pigs. If they want. #swineseptember
posted by phunniemee at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2015 [53 favorites]


There is zero pressure during the women's months for women to post about women's issues. Likewise, queer people don't need to restrict themselves to queer issues. Folks can post about anything they want.

I'm not confused about the parameters. However, I feel like tying it to Pride might subtly change the framing, even if unintentionally.
posted by hoyland at 4:44 PM on May 5, 2015


God forbid.
posted by phunniemee at 4:45 PM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's a problem if a bunch of not queer people are implicitly asking queer people to do things because they're queer. Like I tried to suggest in my earlier comment, I'm not convinced that's the inevitable outcome, but it's something we ought to at least ask ourselves.
posted by hoyland at 4:49 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a problem if a bunch of not queer people are implicitly asking queer people to do things because they're queer.

But that's exactly the thing I was saying in my comment. That isn't and has never been the point of the months-by-so-and-sos.
posted by phunniemee at 4:55 PM on May 5, 2015


But that's exactly the thing I was saying in my comment. That isn't and has never been the point of the months-by-so-and-sos.

And I'm saying, now for the third time, that you can do something that has implications you didn't intend.
posted by hoyland at 4:58 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I just checked my profile and apparently gay is my most commonly used tag."

To be fair, most of those were about bombers, golfers and sprinters.
posted by klangklangston at 5:05 PM on May 5, 2015


(Like the other months, I'm all for this.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:09 PM on May 5, 2015


It's a problem if a bunch of not queer people are implicitly asking queer people to do things because they're queer.

Is that what's happening here?
posted by zarq at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2015


but otherwise I'm missing what we're trying to accomplish.

Sometimes people need a nudge to post to a site they love and always want to contribute to. Lord knows I'm scared to death to post, but this would make me reconsider. Maybe. As long as I didn't have to go first.
posted by mittens at 5:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is that what's happening here?

... I don't know. I've passed on posting things because they're 'too queer'. But then, you say, "Isn't that the point of a theme month, that you don't feel that way?" And suddenly we are asking queer people to post queer content for us, where the 'we' that is Metafilter is not queer. I don't feel that being queer is an obstacle to me making an non-queer or a queer-but-not-super-queer FPP, so if I feel a queer-related reluctance to post, it's about queer content. I'm a sample of one. Other people are going to say 'I don't feel a queer-related reluctance to post and I think a theme month would be super fun' or they'll say 'I'm queer, I don't think enough queer people post and this will kick my butt into gear to make that awesome FPP about pineapples'. But I think we ought to be intentional about what we're doing.
posted by hoyland at 5:25 PM on May 5, 2015


It's a problem if a bunch of not queer people are implicitly asking queer people to do things because they're queer.

I don't think there's any need to borrow trouble, as it were. You talk about your feeling that way at the possibility of a queer month, but I do feel a bit like you're minimising the gap between what you're feeling and what's actually happening /being asked.

This is not to minimise how you feel, but I think there are a few steps between that and a queer month. I think your framing, asking people to post content for us, doesn't really reflect how these theme months have worked, or are intended. I feel like we're asking people to post, or tag, if they want to , and I think that qualification is important, and effectively quashes your concern.
posted by smoke at 5:45 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hoyland, with respect, some of what your posting has to do with how you perceive things and not necessarily how things actually are. We are being intentional about what we're doing if we're encouraging queer Mefites to post about the topics that interest them. I sort of feel like you're concerned about something else and this is a bit of transference/projection on your part.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


... I don't know. I've passed on posting things because they're 'too queer'.

I sense a lot of pushback here, and I hope I'm not going to get lambasted for admitting that I've had similar moments too. I sometimes really cringe at queer (and especially trans) FPPs on here because the rhetoric from straight cis people can be so 101, with a lot of them just chiming in to go "yay gay people" or something and literally nothing else. When that happens, I feel like my sexuality is less recognized as an identity as much as it is as a political meat-puppet for left-leaning people to show off how progressive they are. I get that people are exploring and learning about these issues, but the ratio of straight-cis to queer voices on here is so high that I feel like any chance to explore nuance is drowned out - especially when straight-cis "allies" take it upon themselves to actively attack any perspectives that don't align with their narrow understanding of allyship. For instance, there are very good reasons why I'm not all that optimistic about the waves of marriage equality fever that is hitting the states as a queer person, but I'd never really voice these feelings because I feel like they'd either be drowned out in my attempts to talk about politics with other queer people by all the "YAY I LOVE THE GAYS" voices, or picked apart by someone who once read an "allyship 101" webpage and now thinks they know all of queer politics in depth.

So my need for clarification here is when people are asking for "queer" people to post more, are we speaking strictly about sexuality, or are we also talking about the complicated bundles of radical anti-status quo politics that are so intimately wrapped up with queerness? Because if it's the former, more power to some people I guess, but it's not something I'd really actively associate myself with. If anything, I'd feel even less apt to speak up because it drives the whole cheerleader climate of "LGBT people are the same as us normies except for sexuality YAY FOR THEM" and the whole assimilation and erasure of queer culture and politics that goes alongside with that.
posted by Conspire at 6:00 PM on May 5, 2015 [42 favorites]


I know you know this, Conspire, but since this is a generalist website populated with people from all walks of life, backgrounds and levels of education on a variety of issues, their interactions and contributions will range from very basic to moderate to advanced. They're also going to be repetitive, because on a generalist website (even a somewhat small-'P' progressive one,) we're always going to come in contact with neophytes and have to explain basics and establish parameters for certain topics. And yeah, those of us who aren't well versed will probably sometimes be crappy allies even when we're trying our best to be good ones. I know from experience that can be frustrating. But I sort of feel like it's the nature of the beast, and unavoidable, so the best we can do is try to work within the playground we've been given here.
posted by zarq at 6:20 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a great idea to me. Underrepresented, represent!
posted by Songdog at 6:25 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree that it is what it is, zarq, but what does it mean to ask queer people to make posts, given that context? If I'm posting about pineapples (which is apparently my new example of a random FPP subject), what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish? And if I'm instead being encouraged to post queer content, but nothing too queer (because that's probably going to end badly), aren't I still just giving people an opportunity to feel good about themselves?
posted by hoyland at 6:34 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a good idea and you should feel good.

on a generalist website (even a somewhat small-'P' progressive one,) we're always going to come in contact with neophytes and have to explain basics and establish parameters for certain topics. And yeah, those of us who aren't well versed will probably sometimes be crappy allies even when we're trying our best to be good ones.

This is a problem, true. Perhaps we could pool our collective knowledge to highlight some good LGBTQ 101 resources to potential posters who want to post on LGBTQ issues, in case they want to include them in their posts to cut down on the knucklehead questions?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:35 PM on May 5, 2015


I'm not intimidated by LGBT acceptance issues on MeFi, I'm intimidated because I'm a bad poster and people will laugh at my FPP and send me stinkbugs in the mail.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:35 PM on May 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish?

Visibility by the identity, if you want it. For queer lurkers who feel alone, a sense of connection with a greater number of members than they had before. A sense of more people being on your side. Of more people understanding. At least, I would hope so. Maybe new faces, people who we don't usually see in the queer-themed threads. New voices, even if those voices aren't specifically posting about queer issues.

I mean, obviously, I'm very for the idea. So I'm biased. But I do not see any issues of "hey queer people, perform for us!" or even any "let's force you into unwanted visibility" or anything like that here.
posted by mittens at 6:40 PM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would also vote for $month by people of color, $month by Muslims, $month by non-American MeFites, and others. Mainly because I have a *huge* surplus of stinkbugs and no idea where to send them.
posted by uosuaq at 6:43 PM on May 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish?

A better question; what harm does it do?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:43 PM on May 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish?

[I am a not-queer person, and I'm answering this from the perspective of a woman who used the women's month tags.]

It accomplishes showing a presence. The internet can be pretty hostile towards women. The women's month tags, to me, say "women post here on metafilter, I am a woman posting on metafilter, if you are a woman looking for a place to be on the internet, metafilter is here for you."

I love the idea of theme months because they seem to have so far successfully encouraged people to feel like they're a welcome part of the community here.
posted by phunniemee at 6:44 PM on May 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


I agree that it is what it is, zarq, but what does it mean to ask queer people to make posts, given that context? If I'm posting about pineapples (which is apparently my new example of a random FPP subject), what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish? And if I'm instead being encouraged to post queer content, but nothing too queer (because that's probably going to end badly), aren't I still just giving people an opportunity to feel good about themselves?

Right, I'm very much conscious that I'm speaking to a majority straight-cis audience here on Metafilter, and that's why I seek out alternative sources when I want to discuss my life in greater depth than what I can do here; but the point stands that if I want to talk about queerness on this site - not just as an aspect of sexuality, but as an aspect of life - I feel strongly pushed into filtering my politics and couching it in "nice" terms so that it's more amenable to straight-cis people. In light of that, I have to question what the audience for this tag really is - it feels like it's just an opportunity for straight-cis people to backpat at me. I don't feel like I'm supporting any of my fellow queer mefites or creating any spaces for them to discuss in. You could make the argument of visibility, but my personal feeling is it's a very narrow "Pride-parade" version of visibility. What good is visibility that demands that any queer people who want to be visible enact cishet standards of performance to be recognized - or at most, only very narrowly push the envelope if they're willing to patiently sit and explain through a tidal wave of backlash?

I feel like I already try hard enough to perform for straight-cis people, and I don't want to do even more of that.
posted by Conspire at 6:44 PM on May 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


Mainly because I have a *huge* surplus of stinkbugs and no idea where to send them.

I have a long list of Australian politicians that I would be happy to share.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:44 PM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Do it!

And have a guest panelist (a Mefite community member) on the podcast the following month who can select a few of their favorite posts that month.

This is a fantastic idea - flagged!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


(favorite "JuneByLGBTQ" posts that is, if that wasn't clear.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:56 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Didn't we already go over the whole derail "but why do we need more posts ABOUT WOMEN STUFF" thing in the other Metatalk threads? This proposal isn't to have more QUILTBAG-themed posts per se, but rather to simply encourage posts by people who identify as such, regardless of what the posts are about.
posted by odinsdream at 6:59 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


odinsdream, that's not the concern being raised.
posted by hoyland at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The two women-centered months both caused the two best months of FPPs in the entire time I have been reading Metafilter, so I am all for this suggestion if it leads to a similarly amazing set of posts.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


FWIW, Conspire is doing a much better job of articulating what I'm trying to say than I am.
posted by hoyland at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2015


I'm in favor of it if we can figure out a cute alliterative name for it.
posted by softlord at 7:07 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would also vote for $month by people of color...

I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.

Well, we can stick to monolithic groups like "LGBTQ" or "women" then. I think it's a neat idea if it simply encourages new people to try posting, not so much if it leads to unnecessary discord.
posted by uosuaq at 8:16 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


> what does marking it as a post by a queer person accomplish?

From this queer's perspective, it gives me an opportunity to go "Oh, hey, another queer who likes [thing I also like like birds/books/cocktails/etc.]!" I don't feel a sense of "dance for us, queer people!" from this, FWIW. I definitely did not feel like I had to post about women-related things during the women-themed months. I would participate in this. Apparently, I am good at posting in themed months for the same psychological reasons that make me really good at writing papers on deadline and only on deadline.
posted by rtha at 8:27 PM on May 5, 2015 [36 favorites]


I think this is a great idea! I'm not LGBTQ, but I am a woman who was motivated to post my first FPP by WomensMarch. My fpp was not remotely related to women's issues, but it was nice just to have that extra bit of encouragement.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:44 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a cis straight woman I'm all for this, though I appreciate Conspire and hoyland speaking up about their concerns.

I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.

Also on board with this; fantastic idea.

Part of what seemed to mitigate some of the power dynamics of the two women's months seemed to be a member of the given community making the initial call. It made it about some women wanting to be visible, not about non-women wanting women to be visible (and some women found it patronizing/annoying/etc... and that's a reasonable response, too).

Power dynamics are relatively subtle in a context like this, but I think paying attention to who is trying to motivate an identifiable sub-group of people is very important. Motivation from within the group to meet a need of the group within a larger community can be encouraging and enlivening for many but not all members of the group. Motivation from outside of a group can feel a lot more like viewing the group less as people and more as a potential source of entertainment and/or service.
posted by Deoridhe at 8:45 PM on May 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


If we do this, isn't it going to make the front page kind of gay?
posted by Meatbomb at 9:01 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Meatbomb, that's so far from funny I'm not even going to do you the favor of deleting it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:08 PM on May 5, 2015 [91 favorites]


I feel like I already try hard enough to perform for straight-cis people, and I don't want to do even more of that.

Then don't. I mean, quit worrying about this majority audience you've got hanging over your head. If you want to post some radical queer politics, do it. Maybe you've got access to materials some of us don't. Maybe you've got some thought-provoking ideas some of us would never have seen because we don't get around the queeroblogosphere or whatever much. Who cares what the response is? I mean, of course it is human to care, human to be exhausted by what feels like an obligation to explain, but that obligation isn't actually there, the pressure is different (in quantity, quality, danger) than any of the real life out-in-the-world pressure we encounter, and if you want, you're allowed to post about this stuff and step back and not engage with anyone who does not appear to get it. Or not post! Because that's okay too!

(but now I'm dying to know what a whole month of heavily radical queer posts would look like.)
posted by mittens at 9:27 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


(but now I'm dying to know what a whole month of heavily radical queer posts would look like.)

A radical Queer blog. Which Metafilter isn't, last time I checked.

I know that isn't the point - it's not about QUILTBAG issues, it's about QUILTBAG posters and how we relate to the community and how it relates to us and we're Building Community Spirit and that's all great and I am looking forward to the bake sale.

It's just - (and I can only speak for myself) there's this certain level of "...and he's gay!" This little bit of head-patting. I feel like my terrible posts/FPPs should stand by themselves if and when I get over my anxiety of producing one/stinkbugs. It feels like compartmentalizing, pigeon-holing. I wouldn't feel more included; I don't feel excluded as it is.

And so, as you say, I can sit it out. I haven't lovingly crafted any FPPs yet, I can certainly sit out another month, or just post whatever nonsense about fountain pens and stenography I'm formulating in my horrible post factory without a tip of the hat to #QueerAbbeyJune or whatever, but it doesn't feel right.

It feels like I am being told I am not being Queer correctly.

"We're having a party! We've got hats, you like hats!"
"I don't really want to..."
"Party pooper."
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:50 PM on May 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would also vote for $month by people of color...

I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.


If there are MeFites who are monoliths, I hope to see them post someday, too. Maybe it'd just read "WOOM WOOM WOOM WOOM" and readers' brains would hear the echoes of time and somehow be shocked into evolving.

But that's for another month! June sounds like a great month for being by LBGTQ!
posted by ignignokt at 9:58 PM on May 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Underrepresented, represent!

Hmmm... #ConvervativeAugust, anyone?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:15 PM on May 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


February. It's shorter.
posted by mochapickle at 10:26 PM on May 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


> Hmmm... #ConvervativeAugust, anyone?

Sure, why not? Assuming you've actually looked at the #julybywomen and #womensmarch posts and noted that they are mostly not ABOUT women, just, you know, BY women, about things those women are interested in, which topics are not limited to women-focused subjects. From what I've noticed, politically/socially conservative mefites who do make FPPs seems to exhibit a normally wide range of interests, and if a #monthby... is something they think would encourage more posting, then okay!
posted by rtha at 10:35 PM on May 5, 2015 [13 favorites]




Sylvia Ann Driskell v. MetaFilter

Well, she's totes cray cray but, honestly, I've seen worse pleadings.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:03 PM on May 5, 2015


I'm for this in theory, and I think it would be great to have more visible LGBTQ participation regardless of what people decide to post.

When it comes to more specialized queer-focused content, though, I do share some of Conspire's reservations. In particular, I remember there was an FPP here a couple of years ago focusing on gay men and HIV stigma, in which Conspire was repeatedly told to stop using words like "serosorting" -- on the grounds that using terms like that on a generalist website must be a deliberate attempt to confuse, intimidate, and exclude other people from the conversation. Given that merely using slightly specialized language has precipitated that kind of exhausting backlash in the past, I can understand why Conspire and others would feel reluctant to make FPPs on subjects that might be considered "too queer."

Of course, nobody has to post any particular type of content, and I completely understand that's not the main thrust of this proposal -- but on the other hand, it's natural for people to want to post things that relate to their lives and experience in some way, and if queer people feel like they have to self-censor the material they post away from their own identities and experiences, that might be a roadblock in the way of encouraging queer people to be more visible posters here.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:34 PM on May 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


In the original JulyByWomen call for posts, there were women who did not want to participate and who did not want to use the tag because it was more marginalizing or useless or even because they didn't like hashtags, and that was fine. I flat-out didn't have time in March to post, but I still felt supported in my participation in the site by the decision to have the tag, and the increased activity around it.

A Month-For-You hash is a completely voluntary thing, and its intended benefit is to provide a supportive environment for people whose voices might need some amplification to be heard. It is NOT intended to be another painful, mandatory performance for mainstream consumption. If the presence of a hashtag makes LGBTQIA MeFites feel obliged to take part in multiple demoralizing and exhausting discussions with clueless straight people, that's going to decrease their participation, which is counterproductive. FWIW, I felt like the increased awareness among MeFites, female and male, that women were posting and we were trying to support each other meant that there was more effective squelching of those horrible 'what about the menz' derails. I hope that would hold true for a LGBTQIA MeFite Month, too. I think the mods planned around that, but also community members just spontaneously rallied round, with more flagging and more active "no that's bullshit and here's why, comprehensively and clearly and we're done with this now, right?" from both women and men who had more energy than the OP.
posted by gingerest at 1:09 AM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


the uncomplicated soups of my childhood: If you want to talk through a post or get some encouragement before posting, my memail is always open.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:11 AM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, FFS.

Do we really have a problem with queer members of MetaFilter feeling like they need to be encouraged to post? I mean, seriously. The issue with not enough women posting was real, and encouraging them to make posts has been a boon to the community as a whole. But queer members? Are there queer females who would need an extra queer-focussed boost to get them to post outside of the women-themed months? Are there queer males who aren't posting but need a push?

I mean, if there are LGBTQ MeFites who have not been making posts for whatever reason who need to be encouraged to make posts... Let me encourage them all right now to make posts! Heck, they can MeMail me about the post they are writing if they need encouragement or help with framing or composing or whatever. (My work schedule is wonky, but I will get back to anyone within 24 hours at the most.)

Are there any LGBTQ MeFites who are reading this thread who would post something during a themed month that they otherwise would not post? Would naming a month somehow make them cross the mental barrier about posting? It's not like people are any kinder or anything during the themed months. Most people reading or even participating in the website probably don't even know they are going on.

Those are issues entirely separate from posting queer-themed material, and how that is received.

I'm a bit shocked to read in a comment above this that someone was told to change the language they were using in order to make the site more generalist, or something. MetaFilter is full of very intelligent people who 1) are used to confronting specialist language during discussions, 2) are capable of using context clues or even outside references to make meanings clear, and 3) make up their own inside jokes and terminology to the point where the website can be a bit opaque.

If that kind of thing is actually going on, it needs to not be going on. People use words because they have specific meanings. If new, specialist terms are introduced into a "generalist" web discussion, they should probably be defined. But they don't need to be defined with every use, and accusations that they are being used to deliberately divide the community... I think I'd actually need to see a link to the thread in question before I can pass real judgement, but that simply does NOT sound like MetaFilter in general.

I've personally posted more than a little bit of queer-themed material here. And it's either been something the community was interested in, or it wasn't. I am not going to crawl back through my posting history to look, but I don't recall having any queer-themed posts I have made outright HATED by the community. Some were less engaged-with than others... but then, I've had many posts basically ignored, most of them not queer-themed.

I really don't think we need to encourage more queer-themed posts. MetaFilter, being a generalist website, has more queer material and good discussion about it than basically any other website I've spent time on. If I want or need more, there are places I can go for that.

We might need to encourage more LGBTQ MeFites to post, but I'm in favor of encouraging ALL MeFites to post. Do we need to make a themed month? I dunno. If I were to post during the themed month, I'm unlikely to use the tag to identify myself as being a part of it, because I just make posts when I want.

Personally, I'd rather see themed months which encouraged blacks, latinos, asians... Or even a themed month which was "I Don't Live In The US But I Am A MeFite", because if there is any demographic that could improve the general community around here (and expand all our horizons a bit) it would be "people that don't live in the US". But LGBTQ people in general, I think (I haven't done a poll) find MetaFilter to be a place where they can be themselves without much fear. Encouraging them (and everyone) to post is always good. Encouraging queer-themed posts would be... um... boring.
posted by hippybear at 2:03 AM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah I really wish those queer people would stop shoving it in my face too. /s

I'd love to have more people - of all kinds posting more. It's always a best case scenario in having more posts. Here's the problem with that - I'm not sure how real it is, but there's a pretty high bar around here for making a post in the first place, for all kinds of reasons, real or imagined. And that first post to metafilter can feel pretty goddamned intimidating to make.

One of the best parts about the July and March posts was that it got first time posters to actually hit the post button rather than the back button.

If having a #queerJune or whatever tag encourages my fellow queers to make that first post, I'm all for it.
posted by disclaimer at 2:52 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do we really have a problem with queer members of MetaFilter feeling like they need to be encouraged to post?

You know who expressed a lack of confidence in her posting in the initial #julybywomen thread? joseph conrad is fully awesome had 10 FPPs in her 5.5 years before #jbw, and has had 248 in the 10 months since. That single idea was responsible for a one-hundred-fold increase in her posting, and I say that MetaFilter is a better place for it. If we get even one person showing a tenth of such an increase from #jblgbtq, then it'll be worth it.

Personally, I'd rather see themed months which encouraged...

Be. The. Change....
posted by Etrigan at 4:49 AM on May 6, 2015 [34 favorites]


If that kind of thing is actually going on, it needs to not be going on. People use words because they have specific meanings. If new, specialist terms are introduced into a "generalist" web discussion, they should probably be defined. But they don't need to be defined with every use, and accusations that they are being used to deliberately divide the community... I think I'd actually need to see a link to the thread in question before I can pass real judgement, but that simply does NOT sound like MetaFilter in general.

My mind immediately went to this train wreck. It looks like this is where it turned into "Yeah, well, we don't understand your argument because of your fancy words." But that thread's a great example of why someone might decline to post something as 'too queer for Metafilter'. (It has to be telling that I could find a thread that's a week shy of being two years old instantly.)

Having slept on it and re-read that thread, my feelings are perhaps a bit clearer (or at least, I'd like to think so). I understood the intent of month-by-women to be trying to help underrepresented posters feel empowered to post more/at all, which is great. But if I think about my own empowerment, I don't feel unempowered when making posts generally, rather I feel unempowered making explicitly queer posts. A good portion of my posts are 'LGBT' posts (well, they've all been about gay men), but they're fairly firmly in the 'yay gay people' category (no one picked up on my attempts to give a post or two a little more depth). I've never made a 'queer' post. If we're trying to empower me to post more, I want to feel empowered to make the queer posts that I currently shy away from. But I don't see how a theme month can accomplish that and get Metafilter out of thinking 'yay gay people' is being a good ally.
posted by hoyland at 5:20 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

In particular, I remember there was an FPP here a couple of years ago focusing on gay men and HIV stigma, in which Conspire was repeatedly told to stop using words like "serosorting" -- on the grounds that using terms like that on a generalist website must be a deliberate attempt to confuse, intimidate, and exclude other people from the conversation.
This might be neither here nor there but in a technological age where you can hit Ctrl+T (or equivalent) and type any word into the address bar of just about any browser and have a trove of relevant definitions and resources come up within a second, that sort of response to someone using a word you haven't encountered before (as I hadn't until just this moment) is a bunch of bullshit.
posted by griphus at 5:42 AM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm fairly neutral on this idea, in the sense that getting new people to post about stuff that interests them is always good, but I'm not aware of there being a fear among LGBTQ folks of posting. Which obviously doesn't mean anything, just questioning whether that stigma is there for those people. And trying to link it to Pride month seems a bit odd.

But whatever, if people feel a need, go for it.

In the future, it might be good to just have "If you haven't posted or post rarely, how about giving it a go in this month" type deal. I think this would be good for rare posters and more specifically for others to make a effort encourage more fruitful discussions in posts, so people aren't actually terrified of posting. Because that's not a good dynamic for the site. But that's a discussion for another day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:58 AM on May 6, 2015


In particular, I remember there was an FPP here a couple of years ago focusing on gay men and HIV stigma, in which Conspire was repeatedly told to stop using words like "serosorting" -- on the grounds that using terms like that on a generalist website must be a deliberate attempt to confuse, intimidate, and exclude other people from the conversation.

IIRC, that was corb. Not a group of people, but just one who stridently voiced an opinion and then doubled down in the thread when challenged. It stands out in my memory because she's created a similar dynamic since then in at least a couple of trans-related threads. I could be wrong about this. Haven't sought out and re-read the thread. But people have given her significant pushback over her opinions here, so it's not like she's going unchallenged.

One person can destroy a good thread. But if one person is being disruptive, then that's different, no?
posted by zarq at 6:03 AM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


I like the specific theme months. I think (although have zero actual evidence) that they are more persuasive than a blanket "people who don't post much should post more" drives. Plus, they're fun.
posted by quaking fajita at 6:08 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hey there everyone,

I tossed that off as a casual joke, and didn't intend any insult or slight. I see now that we have much less shared context than I assumed, and I obviously totally misread the room. My sincere apologies and good luck to those taking part in this initiative.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:08 AM on May 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


IIRC, that was corb. Not a group of people, but just one who stridently voiced an opinion and then doubled down in the thread when challenged.

I don't know that "Well, it was just corb" really matters, though. People pretty clearly felt they were expected to justify their usage of the words. In any case, there's a later comment supporting the idea of 'serosorting' etc as jargon it might be better to avoid.
posted by hoyland at 6:15 AM on May 6, 2015


Or even a themed month which was "I Don't Live In The US But I Am A MeFite", because if there is any demographic that could improve the general community around here (and expand all our horizons a bit) it would be "people that don't live in the US".

I don't want to derail from the QUILTBAG-month discussion, but pretty much exactly that proposal was made in the past year and not only did it not happen, but parts of the ensuing discussion were pretty hostile to attempts to make Metafilter less US-centric. Hopefully this thread will be more productive.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:24 AM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Are there any LGBTQ MeFites who are reading this thread who would post something during a themed month that they otherwise would not post?

When I posted my most recent FPP, I was dreading a shitstorm of comments and derails. I ended up being pleasantly surprised and thought the thread showed off some of the best kinds of discussion the community is capable of. But I did worry, quite a bit. I thought it worth posting despite that worry.

Take that for what it's worth.
posted by odinsdream at 6:24 AM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Okay, if we need to unpack a little more who feels stigmatized about posting and why, I'll offer my perspective in case it's useful.

Most of my fear-of-posting has been quite general and not specifically linked to my status as a woman or as a queer person, and the two theme months for women have pretty thoroughly demolished that fear for me, which is awesome. I'm so glad we did them. After two rounds of that, I feel pretty comfortable in the idea that I might post an FPP at any time, although I sort of forget that's a thing I can do when there's not a specific site-wide effort encouraging me.

My thoughts on posting while queer are a bit different. I don't feel constrained from posting FPPs because I am queer. I do feel constrained in how I comment on posts on queer topics, or frame any posts I might make on such topics, as a bisexual woman in a long-term relationship with a man. I am aware of and try to be sensitive to the extraordinary amount of passing privilege that gives me, but am also aware of and feel constrained by biphobia and really stupid stereotypes about bisexual people from both straight people and other queer people. More often than not, I start comments in such threads and delete them without posting because I either think other voices need to be heard more than my fairly privileged one, or I don't have the energy/time to do Bi 101 that day.

I don't know that a theme month on queer topics would particularly encourage me to post more FPPs about queer topics, though it would encourage me to post more in general and some of my posts have been on queer topics, and likely more would be in the future. But it might encourage me to be braver about posting in other people's threads on such topics, and I wonder if that might be true for other queer people whose voices would really enrich the discussion here, including perhaps branching out a bit from the fluffy feel-good "yay gay people are just like straight people!" posts.
posted by Stacey at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Mmm. I've been chewing this over off and on since halifix sent me a note it was happening the other day. I was initially a little bit conflicted because I wasn't sure Metafilter has an issue with queer people feeling not qualified to post FPPs in the same way it has an issue with women. That's mostly because women are generally socialized to not put themselves forward and I don't think queer people are particularly socialized one way or the other in that respect.

And then I thought about it a little bit more and changed my mind. If we do do this, I'll be posting to whatever tag we wind up choosing. See, for me, the problem isn't and wasn't that I don't feel comfortable as a non-straight person posting to Metafilter.... it's a problem feeling like I'm not qualified to "count" as LGBTQ, given that I am... neither lesbian nor bi nor trans, although as an asexual woman who insofar-as-I-date-it's-complicated-but-whatever-dates only non-dudes I pretty well qualify under "queer."

That's not primarily an issue dealing with straight people, for me--it's imposter syndrome and the fear that I'll be targeted as a space-stealing attention-seeker for being openly myself but also IDing as queer by other queer-identified people. (For the record, that's not an unreasonable worry for asexual people on the internet even in lefty, liberal, queer--or at least, gay-friendly--spaces. Maybe especially in those spaces, in my experience. And god knows I've seen plenty of people going "oh why is it even worth mentioning you're asexual, people have too many labels/that's not a real thing, I bet those people are lying" on Metafilter, too.) I'm currently stifling the urge to type out more "really I'm gay enough I swear!!!" style bona fides, because I've been challenged enough on those grounds before that it's become a reflex.

So for me, this tag would be worth it as a signal to other people, sure, but also as a signal to myself that I count and that this initiative is for me, too. I might or might not post something about asexual issues--like I said in the WomensMarch thread, I'm probably too close to the situation to post a lot of the stuff I know about on the Internet, which is the main reason I haven't done so rather than my expressed feelings of anxiety about doing so.

I have certainly felt very worried about posting about queer issues here that were very relevant to me before. For instance, this is the only FPP I've made to date which had me panicked enough to contact the mods and ask for help with my framing to pre-empt irritated responses ahead of time. (They were, as I recall, politely confused and the FPP actually went very well! But I was deeply, deeply worried about posting something which criticized the tendency that I have seen to frame historical people who were, shall we say, plausibly non-straight as definitely gay in the way we understand it now. You can probably even see it in the one comment I left on the FPP.

I would be interested to think about what other non-gay folks think about this take, particularly bisexual and pansexual people. This very well might be a thing which is idiosyncratic to me, but I think I have seen some bi and pan posters talk about feeling some similar feelings of insecurity about visibly identifying themselves as queer in discussion, and I wonder if that carries over into posting the same way it does for me.
posted by sciatrix at 6:43 AM on May 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


I don't know that "Well, it was just corb" really matters, though.

Just to clarify, I really don't want to give you or anyone else the impression I'm trying to dismiss or diminish your, Conspire's (and en forme de poire's) concerns. If y'all say this is a problem, then it's a problem, no question.

But I do think there's value in narrowing down how it's manifesting: Lots of people, or a small group? One person who triggers an avalanche? Not enough or the wrong kind of pushback from allies? Etc. I tend to think it's all of the above... but maybe I'm wrong?

I ask not to put you on the spot or demand answers, but to emphasize that y'all are not alone here. I'd like to help -- and try to. I know other folks do as well. Harmful or negative group dynamics can't always be changed. But by talking it out, perhaps we (the mods and/or the larger community) could muster some constructive help in the future, if that makes sense?

People pretty clearly felt they were expected to justify their usage of the words. In any case, there's a later comment supporting the idea of 'serosorting' etc as jargon it might be better to avoid.

*nod* Not surprising.
posted by zarq at 7:00 AM on May 6, 2015


Brandon Blatcher: I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.

uosuaq: Well, we can stick to monolithic groups like "LGBTQ" or "women" then. I think it's a neat idea if it simply encourages new people to try posting, not so much if it leads to unnecessary discord.


uosuaq's attitude is a strange one. Nothing Brandon Blatcher said suggested "discord." A month encouraging black people to post, especially since this is a US-centric site and blacks are the most marginalized and excluded groups in this society, would be a good thing and it's weird for uosuaq to declare "we can still to monolithic groups" rather than give a specific minority group a month of encouragement. It's offensive, actually.
posted by jayder at 7:03 AM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just checked my profile and apparently gay is my most commonly used tag.


I want a t-shirt that says this even if it isn't true for me.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:15 AM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


IIRC, that was corb. Not a group of people, but just one who stridently voiced an opinion and then doubled down in the thread when challenged.

I kind of hate having people just assume any problematic viewpoint talked about, no matter how paraphrased, must have been mine. You are completely and totally misrepresenting my viewpoint.

Here's the thread. I, and 3 other users, commented that in-group technical language can make it difficult to understand what was being discussed particularly when there was no generally accepted even within the in-group definition for the word 'serosort' - people within the thread were using it in multiple different ways and differently than the article used it and differently still than the CDC used it.

One user (who was not, by the way, me) suggested once in one sentence that Conspire might have been doing so deliberately or carelessly.
posted by corb at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I know a gay guy who tends bar and relies on our car service to get to and from work. On Monday nights he goes to another bar and gets pretty wasted. One night he was so messed up that staff brought him out to the car and sized me up because they like him and didn't want to put him in a car with just anyone. So I took him home and he fell, hard on the sidewalk and hit his head. He tried to get up again and fell off the stairs.

I told him to just stay down and give me his keys so I could get the door open and carry him in. Got him in his bed, he asked me if I was gay, I took off his shoes and tucked him in, locked up and left unpaid.

Well, that created a ton of goodwill and we have started having driveway moments where the conversation was more important than my next call. The most fascinating one was about public perceptions of AIDS before it was named. We are close in age. I was scared too back then because of a certain relationship and we talked about stress and fear and people we knew dieing inexplicably.

If somebody could do a post about that creeping fear before it was named, with quotes from the info available, I'd love to see it. I am not qualified.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


How is it that we're talking about a content-oriented theme and not an identity-oriented theme? It was thoroughly discussed and pretty much entirely agreed upon in the previous MeTa threads that a content approach would be deeply problematic, that what we really want is to encourage a diversity of voices; and especially we agreed that a combined identity+content approach would be extremely problematic -- for all the same sorts of reasons people have mentioned in this thread. All of that applies in this case.

And this notion of "is there really a paucity of LGBTQIA voices, maybe we don't need this?" is problematic because even if we set aside the toxicity of deciding that we collectively want to encourage women to post more but we don't want to collectively encourage LGBTQIA folk to post more, there's also the huge problem that the folk who say "I don't feel like I've been discouraged from posting" are by definition not representative of the people who could use some encouragement to post. I'm sure there were women in the previous MeTas who argued similarly.

There are serious problems with anything that feels even a little coercive to a minority group from a majority -- the expectation that women or LGBTQIA or non-American or whatever group of mefites should post during a theme month because they're part of that group is toxic. It's an opportunity and encouragement, not a responsibility. Likewise, an expectation about the content of such posts made by members of a minority group is especially coercive and toxic because it reduces both the group and individuals of that group to be mouthpieces for a particular representation of that group's interests and views and identity. That would be bad. Simply opening up an explicitly welcoming space is infinitely better.

I wrote this in the #globalvoices thread, but as a disabled person, I'd like to see a theme month for disabled folk, too. But I'd hate it if there was a sense that I had some responsibility to post as a disabled person, and I'd especially hate it if there was a sense that I was required to post, as a disabled person, something topical related to my identity as a disabled person. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't! But it shouldn't be the expectation. I totally understand these sorts of concerns, because I share them within the context that would apply to me. But I think that a disabled folk voices month would be a good thing, like I think a LGBTQIA month would be a good thing, and a non-American month would be a good thing. All as attempts to create larger spaces for these voices to be heard, not as a means to promote a particular topic, not as a hamhanded patronizing "you're an [X], please come up to the microphone and tell us what [X] people think". Christ, no. But just as general encouragement -- we've seen that the two such months we've had have been huge successes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:54 AM on May 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


Mr. Yuck: If somebody could do a post about that creeping fear before it was named, with quotes from the info available, I'd love to see it. I am not qualified.

When the Ebola panic set in last year, I started to compose a post about it but was beaten to the punch. A couple of news outlets compared what was happening to the fears that initially arose in the 80's after AIDS and then HIV were identified. So I was going to include that connection, with a couple of links to provide historical context.

These are the links I collected. I probably only would have included the first two in the final FPP.

* HIV in the '80s: 'People didn't want to kiss you on the cheek'
* "Why ‘Fearbola’ reminds me of the early AIDS panic"
* “Ignorance, Fear, and Bias" in Alabama’s Treatment of HIV-Positive Prisoners
* Bugs, Drugs, Smoke, Chapter 5: AIDS. (pdf) Discussion about the stigma and panic associated with being HIV positive begins on page 86.
* What Young Gay Men Don’t Know About AIDS, which mentions playwright Larry Kramer's legendary article 1,112 And Counting.
posted by zarq at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I kind of hate having people just assume any problematic viewpoint talked about, no matter how paraphrased, must have been mine.

This wasn't pulled out of nowhere. You were active in the thread. You discussed the term.

You have been strident and inflexible in at least two other threads about trans issues, and because of that you stick out in my mind as someone who is more likely to adopt a problematic viewpoint related to those subjects.

You are completely and totally misrepresenting my viewpoint.

I wasn't the person who brought up the example. But I will re-read the thread later today. As I said in my original comment, it's been two years since I've done so. To repeat: "I could be wrong about this. Haven't sought out and re-read the thread."
posted by zarq at 8:23 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we not derail the thread with a discussion of corb, please? Not helpful.
posted by sciatrix at 8:41 AM on May 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'd like to hear from even more LGBTQ Mefites in this thread. Lots of opinions about 'do we really need this?' / 'do queer people really feel they cannot post?' skepticism.

JulyByWomen had many women expressing skepticism, or even disdain for such an effort, and that's fine and MetaTalk is the place to do it; we went ahead with it and it was a resounding success IMHO. Everyone benefitted: the posters, the readers, METAFILTER THE CORPORATE ENTITY. Even though it is a user-driven idea and a grassroots thing, it feels officially embraced and sanctioned by MetaFilter proper (by acknowledgement through announcements, and on the podcast).

There's a lot of power in that, especially if you're part of a minority group.

I don't see any downside in trying to encourage posts (on _any_ subject matter) from certain segments of the community, and try to make them feel welcome, accepted, and supported by the community.

(Note: I'm straight so again, would really love to hear even more LGBTQ voices in this thread.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:43 AM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well I'd participate. But I post a fair amount anyway!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:51 AM on May 6, 2015


A couple of comments deleted. Please drop the derail about corb and the earlier thread; people can check out the earlier thread on their own if they want to, but quoting at length to extend an argument about that here is not helping the goal of this thread.
posted by taz (staff) at 8:59 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can we not derail the thread with a discussion of corb, please? Not helpful.

Seems to me that if you really want to encourage a particular subset of people to post for a month, then dealing in advance with those who have shown a propensity to argue or even derail posts related to that group would be important.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


The purpose of this post is to discuss if LGBTQ members are interested in doing a theme month sort of thing, not to discuss how a specific member may or may not comment in a hypothetical future thread, or to redirect the conversation to be an argument about how corb (or any other member) commented in a past thread.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:06 AM on May 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


As someone who would likely participate in such a theme, I am not looking for the mods to pre-chastize someone for things they may do in a thing that may exist in the future. But I would be happy and encouraged to see some sort of statement from the mods that they would be on a bit of extra alert for sensitive discussions around sexual orientation and gender identity during such a month, to the extent resources allow, to cut off bad behavior before it can derail discussion. I had a sense (admittedly perhaps mistaken) that there was some extra vigilance paid to #Monthbywomen threads, and I really appreciated that as a newbie poster who had things go off-track but get quickly addressed by mods in a couple of my posts.
posted by Stacey at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


....not to discuss how a specific member may or may not comment in a hypothetical future thread, or to redirect the conversation to be an argument about how corb (or any other member) commented in a past thread.

It's on topic. It was brought up in the context that those comments represent an ongoing behavioral problem on Mefi which apparently discourages at least one person in the LGBTQ group from posting.
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on May 6, 2015


Count me among those who was 'meh' to 'sure, why not?' about this idea when I first read it who is now more strongly supportive thanks to the conversation in MetaTalk. (The system works!)

I think even though there are plenty of queer folk around here who feel comfortable commenting as such (lord knows, I'm here gaying up the joint as close to 24/7 as I possibly can) but that visibility, even here in 2015 ( which is very different than 2005 when I joined to be honest) is still super important, especially if you aren't necessarily first to post in a Pet Shop Boys thread (me) or have "gay" as their most used tag (others in this thread). Maybe I'm just old school, but I'm still super excited when I find out 'poster/commenter who I like' is a member of my tribe. The queer folk of whom I aware who post here have a wide variety of interests, but I will be happy to find out if it's even wider in June.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


I definitely posted more after JulyByWomen, even if I didn't post that much during the month itself. They aren't super impressive megaposts, but it has encouraged me to look out for more MeFi-appropriate content in my normal web browsing. I wouldn't say I was afraid to post before, but it was nice to be specifically invited and encouraged. I think any theme month is going to be an improvement to the site because it adds more content. We're nowhere near some sort of content ceiling where we have to start prioritizing quality posts from experienced posters. New voices are almost certainly going to improve the site.
posted by almostmanda at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would be interested to think about what other non-gay folks think about this take, particularly bisexual and pansexual people.

It's not something that bothers me. I am super privileged, at least as far as sexuality goes. I really feel like approbation from people who ID as queer is not a serious risk to my well-being and so I am open to hearing it and learning from it if it happens. I'm a woman in a long-term relationship with a man but I do not ID as straight; so that's where I'm coming from. YMMV.

I might have used up all my give a shit about this topic because I pass as white (sometimes) and yet do not ID as white. The fucked up dynamics that occur as a result are not the fault of people of color, even if they're brought to my attention by people of color. Likewise, if you pass as straight and get unpleasant comments from queer identifying people, it's not necessarily a problem with them, but with the broader context of homophobia, transphobia, and systemic bigotry against perceived violators of gender and sexual norms.

I hope this makes sense to you in relationship to your question.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


It does! For what it is worth though, I do not actually pass as straight. Among other things, I have a nonbinary partner who passes as female and recently got approved for a visa based on our same sex marriage.

And yet the issues persist. For me, anyway.
posted by sciatrix at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would be interested to think about what other non-gay folks think about this take, particularly bisexual and pansexual people. This very well might be a thing which is idiosyncratic to me, but I think I have seen some bi and pan posters talk about feeling some similar feelings of insecurity about visibly identifying themselves as queer in discussion, and I wonder if that carries over into posting the same way it does for me.

Theme months and this discussion make me less likely to post for reasons I am not able to articulate well. It has something to do with the fact that I come here to not be put into or left out of little labeled boxes. I wouldn't use a tag like this if I did make a post because I would have anxiety about being 'enough' of a member of whatever group or feeling like I was getting in the way of the intended purpose of the tag or whatever. That would quickly turn into just not making the post at all. Logically I know I'm way over thinking this and it isn't that complicated but feelings aren't logic so my posts sit in a text file on my computer.

Basically - yes I have anxiety and insecurity about identifying myself for the reasons you state even though I am now very comfortable with how I feel about myself.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:45 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Though to the point of this MeTa - I'm all for theme months if they get anybody to post more about anything. I don't have any problem with the idea in general and I'm always excited about more posts. The above is a personal thing for me to deal with.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seeing as next month is Pride in much of the country...

Minor suggestion from an admittedly ignorant person on the subject: Try to be more global in terms of outreach. I'm not sure if LGBT Pride Month is strictly an American things and quick Google search didn't make it clear. Yeah, the majority of Mefi is American, but that's no reason to make something USA focused or centered around.

But whatever works for people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:05 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm liking this idea. MarchbyWomen generated all sorts of high-quality FPPs that were all over the map interest-wise. This can only do the same, methinks.

And yeah, to phunnimee's point above:

Folks can post about anything they want.

Bingo. As a gay dude I'm as likely to do an FPP about blues guitar or bluegrass or fishing or single-malt whisky or random Canadiana as I am about Larry Kramer or something.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I solemnly promise to continue my output of corpse decay, rat movement, and bug-eating FPPs in June, no matter what tags I mark them with!
posted by sciatrix at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


"It has something to do with the fact that I come here to not be put into or left out of little labeled boxes. I wouldn't use a tag like this if I did make a post because I would have anxiety about being 'enough' of a member of whatever group or feeling like I was getting in the way of the intended purpose of the tag or whatever. That would quickly turn into just not making the post at all. Logically I know I'm way over thinking this and it isn't that complicated but feelings aren't logic so my posts sit in a text file on my computer."

It isn't the same thing, but I just have problems with posting generally because I feel a much bigger responsibility about posts than I should. It's not unlike the problem I have with flagging. And with the posts, the very few posts I have made, I feel like were crap.

The point is not to say that these two things are the same, but that they're part of the larger issues involved in the things that make people feel reluctant to post.

And the irony of how you feel about this -- which I think I understand pretty well, thinking about how I feel about this discussion when applied to me and my identity -- is that the aim of these theme months is, as you say, just to get people to post who otherwise feel reluctant to post. Many of us feel such reluctance, and many of us feel this for reasons that aren't really related to our identity. But some of us feel some of this reluctance for reasons that do relate to identity -- and, also, regardless of all that I think the biggest purpose of these theme months is to result in more posts and especially in a way that makes the posts of MetaFilter more diverse. Not in a tokenist way, and not in a content way, but in a way that results in what we've seen with the past theme months -- MetaFilter just ends up feeling like a more inclusive, welcoming place for members of that group and all of us end up with a lot more great posts to read. (And which aren't necessarily about the issues related to that identity!)

So it is a very unfortunate thing if some people feel that the themes push them in exactly the opposite direction. And, again, I can totally see how you'd feel that way. I think I might feel at least a little the same way for a theme month that would apply to me. I mean, I have pretty strong feelings about pigeonholing people and, even more so, that paternalistic pat on the head from privileged folk kind of crap. I don't like other disabled people speaking on my behalf as a disabled person, and I try to avoid speaking on other disabled people's behalves, and I especially don't want to be put into a position by abled people as some sort of spokesperson, or as someone who is expected to "properly" represent the interests of disabled people in a post. On the other hand, I feel like disabled voices aren't well-represented on MetaFilter in some respects. I would like more content about disability issues, but I oppose advocating specifically for more disabled-oriented content for the reasons we've discussed in the past.

What I'm trying (badly) to say is that I think that it's possible to navigate through these rocky waters by simply being very careful to send the message that a) no one has a responsibility to participate, b) no one has a responsibility as [x] to use the tag if they post during the month, c) no one is representing anyone other than themselves if they post using the tag, d) no one is going to contest them if they do use the tag. I think that the last would only be a problem if it was actually a particular problem individual who was really being disruptive, and I think we'd deal with that individually. I don't think it's a problem we're likely to have. Otherwise, it's absolutely critical that there be no one policing anyone else's identity, as I think we've discussed this in previous threads.

Basically, I feel like the concerns that people have raised are all very real concerns and shouldn't be brushed aside. But that I think that we can answer these concerns and avoid these problems. Past experience has shown that we can. That isn't a guarantee of future success, but it's reason to be optimistic.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


To Brandon Blatcher's point, I'm going to do a post on Pride celebrations and other LGBT calendar events worldwide as my first post in June. June stuck here because of Stonewall and there's a lot to be written about how about the movement in U.S. versus worldwide, and I'm excited to look into it more.

To those in the thread who self-identify as queer but are conflicted to label themselves because of their personal anxiety, thanks for sharing that. I'm not going to presume to tell you how to respond to those impulses, especially to people who give you grief about them (saying "fuck 'em" is lots easier to do than actually living with that), but I find it very interesting to hear those similar-to-my-life-but-definitely-not-congruent-to-my-life viewpoints.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:22 AM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think the biggest purpose of these theme months is to result in more posts and especially in a way that makes the posts of MetaFilter more diverse. Not in a tokenist way, and not in a content way, but in a way that results in what we've seen with the past theme months -- MetaFilter just ends up feeling like a more inclusive, welcoming place for members of that group and all of us end up with a lot more great posts to read. (And which aren't necessarily about the issues related to that identity!)

Well said. Hear hear!

*pounds tabletop loudly*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:38 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm gay, and I'm not against this, but I appreciate the discomfort conspire and others are feeling. I think the idea that this would be purely about the posters, and not about the content, is a little weird. Surely part of the goal of diversifying the posters is to diversify the selection of content that is posted, and while not everything that strikes the 'queer eye' as worthy will necessarily be explicitly queer itself, I think it would be strange if the month did not include more queer content.

On that note, I do think there is some cause for concern. There have definitely been topics (such as HIV stigma, barebacking, HIV criminalization, in-group critiques of gay marriage, and defenses of 'exclusive' queer spaces) where I've felt like less-popular perspectives that are often commonly held in the queer community were drowned out by hetero majority points of view, sometimes in ways that made me feel like this was not a 'safe space' for discussing them.

I'll probably get stinkbugs for this, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not all that interested in hearing what straight people think about some of my community's in-group issues and interests, and posting about them here would seem like an invitation for just that. An LGBTQ month that ended up dominated by non-LGBTQ voices would be pretty problematic. I'm not sure how to avoid that.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2015 [23 favorites]


It isn't the same thing, but I just have problems with posting generally because I feel a much bigger responsibility about posts than I should. It's not unlike the problem I have with flagging. And with the posts, the very few posts I have made, I feel like were crap.

Oh, that's me as well. That's the real reason why I have 2 weak posts and only a handful of comments over my 5 years here. I was just saying that this makes me even less likely to post. Most of the things about me that can be labeled make me the most privileged person in the room. I recognize that and it makes me feel like I'm taking something away from others if I identify as anything or try to relate. This is why I rarely talk about sexuality or addiction IRL. I feel like I'm coming from the wrong place and I need to get over that. Here I am more open though I still have the anxiety.

I don't like other disabled people speaking on my behalf as a disabled person, and I try to avoid speaking on other disabled people's behalves, and I especially don't want to be put into a position by abled people as some sort of spokesperson, or as someone who is expected to "properly" represent the interests of disabled people in a post.

This is the articulate version of what I was trying to say. I don't want to seem like I am speaking *as* something or *for* a group and I also don't want others doing that for/to/at me.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:43 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not intimidated by LGBT acceptance issues on MeFi, I'm intimidated because I'm a bad poster and people will laugh at my FPP and send me stinkbugs in the mail.

Won't someone think of the stinkbugs! Only send them if you know the recipients can care for or resettle stinkbugs appropriately. And don't forget to spay and/or neuter your stinkbugs.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gay person here. I don't feel like I need to be encouraged to post, either because I'm a woman, or gay, or a native Texan, or any other thing that can sometimes lead people to put you in a certain box. (Mostly kidding about the Texas thing. Mostly.)

That said, I don't need the encouragement because I've been here for a long time, and I know that it's a really welcoming place for LGBTQ folks. Welcoming to the point of it often feeling like a non-issue.

But I also recognize that might not be true for people who haven't been here for 10 years. Maybe a little encouragement -- designating a specific month a 'safe space' for posting -- is something that will really help some of those people. Maybe it will show them that they're not going to be judged solely on their sexuality here (except for when some occasional outlier is being a jerk). So, why not? Doesn't hurt anything.

I think if people could look at this less like a solution to a problem the site doesn't have, and more like "Hey, here's a neat thing we could do for some of our fellow community members!" -- well, I think that's a pretty simple way to look at it, and I don't see how that could be a bad thing. A necessary thing? Not for me personally, no. Necessary for other members of the community? Who the hell knows? Maybe yes. Won't know until it happens.

Also, I'm getting the impression that, in this thread, any rhetorical misstep or poorly thought out argument will suffer punishment by stinkbug. I have actually been sprayed in the eye with stinkbug juice by a stinkbug that happened to be at eye level, and I tell you what, the stinkbug double whammy is an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. Mete out stinkbug justice sparingly and only in proportion to the offense, is what I'm saying.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


" I'm not all that interested in hearing what straight people think about some of my community's in-group issues and interests, and posting about them here would seem like an invitation for just that."

I'll just reiterate that the idea proposed is: JuneByLBQGT, not JuneAboutLBQGT. LBQGT posters can post about whatever they want. Just like JulyByWomen was.
posted by I-baLL at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Agree with I-baLL, but also wanted to add that I completely understand (and agree with) where sevenyearlurk is coming from on that particular issue (separately of a JuneByLBQGT month) .

The only time I ever ragequit MetaFilter (and by that I mean hit the 'close account' button and didn't mention it to anyone until I asked to get it undone*) had to do with an "in-group issue" being discussed. And it wasn't even offensive or even particularly wrong. I just felt like people outside-the-group weren't being sensitive to the fact that, hey, you know, we've been thinking about this a LOT so coming in with your proclamations of 'why don't you do it this way?' pissed me off and felt like a personal attack.

But again, I think this is the "trouble" with talking about certain things on a general issues site. We've certainly seen it MUCH more with trans and feminist issues, just to name a couple of examples off my head. But I think having those discussions has been worth it. But I also totally understand if any people who it affects more personally wants to stay the fuck out.

* I believe it was the next day.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Speaking of trans issues, what do trans posters think about this idea? I haven't seen anyone go "I'm the T, and..." yet, but I know that Metafilter has had a long history of trans* discussions and lots of members trying to increase the quality of that discussion. I also know there's a very long general history of using "LGBT" even when people are not actually focusing on the T, which leads to trans people being excluded even when they're nominally supposed to be included.

I think any post that goes up on this should really be explicitly trans* friendly, because I think there is otherwise a risk of making this a more sexuality-centric conversation than it really should be.
posted by sciatrix at 11:37 AM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'll just reiterate that the idea proposed is: JuneByLBQGT, not JuneAboutLBQGT. LBQGT posters can post about whatever they want. Just like JulyByWomen was.

I'm not sure if this is as helpful as a distinction as people are making it out to be in addressing the concerns raised in this FPP. When you couple it with the concerns that I, along others, have raised about Metafilter being a place where we have to filter and censor our identities to participate in, the way it comes off as to me is "you can be gay, but in name only, don't actually act gay." I'm stating this as a trend that I do not just in explicitly "queer" FPPs, but everywhere since my involvement in literally anything I do is going to be informed by my perspective and experiences as a queer person. In the past, I've talked about any number of not-explicitly-queer things in relation to my identity - my work as a scientist, clothes, linguistics, whatever - and had to fight off significant pushback for doing so, so now I'm very cautious about when and where I share things. I like doing so, but I just don't have the energy to deal with the tidal wave of straight-cis voices trying to nitpick at my experience every time I try, and the exhaustion of trying to create something that's air-tight enough to mitigate some - but never all - of that.

In other words, the suggestion that I just post "whatever I want" rather "queer stuff" is a loaded one for me. A "queer" topic, for me, isn't one that talks about marriage equality or trans rights. It's one that actively reflects my experiences rather than just aligning with an unspoken default straight-cis experience that is considered to be the "one objective authoritative" one, and the suggestion that I just default to this viewpoint to avoid a fight doesn't resolve the underlying issues that I'm bringing up.
posted by Conspire at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


"In other words, the suggestion that I just post "whatever I want" rather "queer stuff" is a loaded one for me."

Nobody's making that suggestion. "whatever you want" includes "queer stuff" because it's "whatever you want".
posted by I-baLL at 11:47 AM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nobody's making that suggestion. "whatever you want" includes "queer stuff" because it's "whatever you want".

And that loops back to the original point raised - that queer people here feel that they have to self-censor their identity and politics on this site. I get the points that you and others have raised have been hashed out in previous MonthsbyWomen, but you can't just laterally extrapolate the resolutions made there by a different marginalized group to what needs to be addressed here to make a queer month work for people like me. The solutions that you are offering don't address the issues specific to how queer people represent themselves and participate on this site (frequently differently from women) that are being brought up.
posted by Conspire at 11:53 AM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


mudpuppie:
But I also recognize that might not be true for people who haven't been here for 10 years. Maybe a little encouragement -- designating a specific month a 'safe space' for posting -- is something that will really help some of those people. Maybe it will show them that they're not going to be judged solely on their sexuality here (except for when some occasional outlier is being a jerk). So, why not? Doesn't hurt anything.

I think if people could look at this less like a solution to a problem the site doesn't have, and more like "Hey, here's a neat thing we could do for some of our fellow community members!" -- well, I think that's a pretty simple way to look at it, and I don't see how that could be a bad thing. A necessary thing? Not for me personally, no. Necessary for other members of the community? Who the hell knows? Maybe yes. Won't know until it happens.
Quoted for (personal view of the) truth. If you're comfortable talking about who you are and how you identify with this community in this space, it seems to me that you have already navigated beyond the usual entry points (AskMe or MetaFilter) and into the "members only" section, as much as we have a "members only" section (maybe chat is more of this, but I digress).

For whatever reason, I feel like there are fewer people coming forward and saying "I haven't posted yet, but this would encourage me to post (more)," as compared to the past two Months by Women. Maybe there is generally a better and broader feeling of support on the site for members who identify identify as QUILTBAG, or maybe it's more similar to the GlobalVoices effort that appeared to be fragmented in support and concern, and lacking a clearly defined usergroup based on the various definitions that fit under the expansive umbrella terminology.

In short, I support any effort that makes people who feel some hesitation or anxiety over acceptance or quality more likely to overcome those concerns and make their first or 15th post. #MoreVoicesAllTheTime is too long and cumbersome to promote, and when every month is promoted, none stand out as This Is The Time To Do That Thing, and you'll always have next month, right?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on May 6, 2015


And that loops back to the original point raised - that queer people here feel that they have to self-censor their identity and politics on this site.

I'm just going to note that I'm a queer person (politically and sexually) and that I don't feel the need to censor my identity and politics for the Metafilter audience.
posted by andoatnp at 12:02 PM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Conspire and others, I see that point, and the same point can be made for a number of personal and political viewpoints. To which, I support any effort that makes MetaFilter a more considerate and open-minded community, where differing and personally challenging topics can be discussed without emotions flaring. I don't know if #JuneByLGBTQ or any other effort would be a tipping point, but it can't hurt, can it? I think the site has come a long way on a number of previously touchy and heated topics, to where they can be discussed without escalating into personal attacks. Some even noted a perceived change within the past 2-3 years.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:07 PM on May 6, 2015


I guess the question that I currently have with respect to Conspire and sevenyearlurk's excellent comments is.... should Metafilter include less discussion of queer-related issues because there are a lot of clueless straight people here? Or is it that you find those discussions personally exhausting and avoid them because of the high likelihood of clueless pushback?

I ask as someone who certainly modifies the things I post and the things I talk about based on my audience and who very selectively edits how I present my politics depending on my audience and whether I feel like dealing with pushback. I know exactly where the exhaustion you're talking about comes from, and I've chosen to sidestep it or push against it in different situations and different communities I'm part of in the past.

But you know, I've also deeply appreciated comments I've seen about those topics from people like DrMew and Frowner and Juliet Banana, among many others, which have really expanded my thought process and let me chew over things I hadn't seen before. In particular, I appreciate the perspectives that queer MeFites bring to these topics that aren't necessarily the things I would be so likely to encounter in my own non-MeFi communities, particularly intergenerational perspectives. I'd be sad to see less of that here, so... oh, I don't know, the idea that a #LGBTQJune would be a bad idea because it would lead indirectly to more posts about queer stuff which could then be derailed by straight people strikes me as a little bit depressing.

Right before WomensMarch, we talked about things the commentariat and moderation could do to make discussions more friendly to women. Stuff like flagging asshole comments, moderators explicitly wading in to gently nudge discussions, and having people get more comfortable with contact forms. Are there things that people have in mind that would be useful to promote nuanced, good discussion on queer-related topics?
posted by sciatrix at 12:15 PM on May 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


In general, I mean, not with respect to referendums on anyone in particular. To clarify.
posted by sciatrix at 12:16 PM on May 6, 2015


Are there things that people have in mind that would be useful to promote nuanced, good discussion on queer-related topics?

I think one of the challenges is that many of the nuances of queer issues are frequently used as weapons for straight-cis people to attack us or between different subgroups within queer identities - so they don't mesh well into a generalist website since they frequently come off as dogwhistles. Sexuality is fluid, but straight people always use it to justify poor homophobic writing of "queer" characters in media. Trans women do have experiences that differ from cis women, but these are always used to accuse them of having "male socialization" rather than talked about in the context of intersectionality. People of color from different cultures do relate to queerness differently than white people, but these differences are always cited to paint entire non-Western cultures as barbaric using Western standards of queerness. Overall, these are issues that might be very deserving of discussion alone, but I think people need to recognize that they might not be able to bring them up without threatening a lot of people if they don't belong within the group being addressed - especially if they're using it to imply that the group in question is problematic because they haven't thought deeply about these questions already, which is almost always untrue.

Personally, I'd like to see a lot less of "I'm cis but thank you so much for educating me and you all have been so valuable to my self development" and "I'm straight but I just wanted to say go gay people!" too. Other queer people might find this supportive, but it drags the conversation back to centering straight people all over again. When I see comments like this, it makes me feel like that everything I say is on showcase for straight people here.
posted by Conspire at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


"The solutions that you are offering don't address the issues specific to how queer people represent themselves and participate on this site (frequently differently from women) that are being brought up."

I've re-read all four (on preview, five) of your comments in this thread several times now. If I understand you correctly, you feel that your ability to participate here on MetaFilter is heavily constrained by MetaFilter's dominant cishet perspective. I think you're right about the problem -- even as a cishet person I feel like I've observed all the kinds of behavior and distortion in discussions that you're talking about. And, given that, I can see how it would rankle to have this mostly cishet community promote an LGBTQIA month because wouldn't that exacerbate these problems and, also, be sort of an example of the cluelessness you describe? I can totally see how it would,

What I disagree with you about is your contention that these issues aren't all active with regard to women, and weren't all active with regard to the previous theme months. Because they are and were. That's not to say that I think you're wrong that these identities and experience are not equivalent, because they're not and I agree that it's a very good point to keep in mind that they're not. They never are. But the specific issues you've raised aren't different, they're problems in that other context, too.

I think the issues you've raised are semi-independent of this proposal. They're underlying issues about how cishet privilege manifests here. But not having a theme month isn't going to do anything to help that problem. It's true that having a theme month could make these problems worse, but -- again -- that was a concern rightly raised about the previous theme months.

Over the longer term, we've been actively trying to address within the community and via moderation these issues with regard to women. It's been a long, difficult struggle and we're not close to being done with it. And I think that we have similar issues about dominant privileged perspectives in relationship to other groups, certainly including LGBTQIA (and most especially with regard to subdivisions within that category), but also with several others.

But -- respectfully -- I argue that things like these theme months, when in conjunction with some strong moderator attention and care and some promulgated community standards, can end up being powerfully positive responsive to the problems you're describing.

In particular, that's why I think the identity-oriented and not a topic-oriented focus is so important because a) if it's purely topic-oriented, you're inviting the privileged non-[X] to post and make it all about their ideas on the topic; and b) if it's identity+topic, then you're implicitly equating the identity with a certain slate of topics, which isn't fair to the actual individuals in that group.

Your argument as I understand it is that there's cishet pressure to be only a certain kind of LGBTQIA person on MetaFilter, and to accordingly only say certain things, and you're totally right that this is awful. And you're also totally right that if it were the case that the proposal was for an identity-only, avoid-the-topic focus, that would be just be a different, and worse, version of that confining oppression. But that has never been anyone's proposal.

The proposal is to encourage exactly what you favor -- people who are LGBTQIA to post about whatever the hell they want to post about, whether it's nominally LGBTQIA-related or not, because the whole point is that the actual voices of LGBTQIA folk like you should be able to be just as well-heard and just as free to be yourself as anyone else and they're presently not. The proposal, as I understand it, is to make as welcoming a space as possible for members of a group to just feel free to be here as whoever they are. Not that they have to be here as a representative, nor -- especially -- to be here as a cishet expectation of a representative, that's just toxic. The intent, rather, is just to invite participation. It's identity-linked because, as you eloquently expressed, our participation is inevitably identity-linked. It seems like it's threading a needle, to focus on identity while not boxing people in, but I think it's possible to do this and, more to the point, I think it's very important to do this.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Am just now caught up on this thread, and I want to thank everybody for their thoughts so far on the idea here. I'll try and sum up some mod-side thoughts on what folks have talked about.

My main take: I like the idea and would be for doing it next month if folks are generally feeling good about it. I think both the previous MonthByWomen events were great, and great in large part because they were focused mostly on just saying "hey, it's okay to post on Metafilter, and it's okay to represent yourself as a member of a less-visible-on-the-internet group when you do if that's something you want to do". I'd neither expect folks to post only or primarily or extraordinarily about queer issues or queer-centric topics, nor to pointedly avoid doing so; in the MonthByWomen mix we had lots of posts about just whatever someone thought was interesting and I think a skosh more interesting posts about women or women's issues, and I think that was a totally okay and good natural balance for the event. Main thing was, people felt a little bit more encouraged and empowered to get their post on, which is something everybody on the site benefits from.

My straw poll impression so far is that a lot of folks do feel down with the idea, though I think it's very much worth listening to the folks expressing reservations, particularly from the perspective of being a queer-identifying member of the community, and to try and make sure we (mods and community in general) have a decent understanding of those reservations.

I would I guess break down my sense of those reservations into two basic categories:

1. Mefites who don't feel comfortable personally participating in #JuneByLGBTQ
2. Mefites who don't feel comfortable with #JuneByLGBTQ occurring at all

My impression is most of the reservations folks have aired here are more in the territory of point 1 than point 2—that folks saying they're not really into this are talking more about not feeling like its something that serves their needs or solves any problem they have with Metafilter vis-a-vis queer issues or conversation/posting dynamics. Which is a totally legitimate objection and useful to express in here, so thanks to those who have articulated their feelings on that front. And I want to emphasize that no concept of #JuneByLGBTQ that considered that sort of objection or disinclination to participate to be problematic would make sense to me as something to do on Metafilter; this would absolutely be a participate if you want, don't participate if you don't want, and nobody gives anybody shit about it either way sort of thing, just like the MonthByWomen stuff.

If there are folks who feel strongly along the lines of point 2, that this is something that just should not happen period, it'd be good to hear more about your perspective on that. I do feel like some of this stuff has been discussed in previous MonthByWomen threads and that while it's not totally equivalent there are probably at least structurally analogous things between those discussions and this one, and that part of moving forward with them was recognizing that we're not going to have unanimity on this sort of thing ever and will instead need to focus on letting people feel how they feel and participate or not as they see fit, but I also don't want to gloss over the need to talk about some of this stuff in this specific context or assume everyone's read previous related threads.

As someone who would likely participate in such a theme, I am not looking for the mods to pre-chastize someone for things they may do in a thing that may exist in the future. But I would be happy and encouraged to see some sort of statement from the mods that they would be on a bit of extra alert for sensitive discussions around sexual orientation and gender identity during such a month, to the extent resources allow, to cut off bad behavior before it can derail discussion. I had a sense (admittedly perhaps mistaken) that there was some extra vigilance paid to #Monthbywomen threads, and I really appreciated that as a newbie poster who had things go off-track but get quickly addressed by mods in a couple of my posts.

I don't think we were really being hyper-vigilant or anything during those previous month events, so much as just keeping it in mind in particular in the context of new posters getting a decent reception and also asking folks in the community at large to help out by flagging early and often or dropping us contact form messages about weird or complicated stuff. Those months went well mostly for the same reason that Metafilter usually goes pretty well: this is a community full of people with a reasonably solid sense of wanting this place to be good, of being in this together even when they differ on the details. People bump heads or behave thoughtlessly or grar up threads sometimes because people are people, but most of what makes this place work is that people are still basically good people, not that the mods are on any kind of unsustainable high alert.

So, setting reasonable expectations there: we'll definitely be keeping an eye out for new or infrequent posters finding their way a little, for flags on early thread grumping or derails, for contact form heads ups about stuff, but it's not something where either MonthByWomen event lived or died primarily on the strength of extraordinary mod intervention, and I wouldn't expect or want to imply that #JuneByLGBTQ would be any different. We'll be around and attentive to do our job, but as much as anything it's about folks in the community just being game and kind in the first place, and helping out with flags and contact form stuff where things do get bumpy.

Personally, I'd like to see a lot less of "I'm cis but thank you so much for educating me and you all have been so valuable to my self development" and "I'm straight but I just wanted to say go gay people!" too. Other queer people might find this supportive, but it drags the conversation back to centering straight people all over again.

I hear you, and I think that's a challenge and one I have no good solution to. To the extent that this is a generalist site that by demographic circumstance has a whole lot of cis, straight people on it, getting past pretty basic engagement with some of these things (however supportive in intent) is difficult in a way it wouldn't be in a much more culturally focused community of/by/for queer members specifically. I'm hopeful that, at least, continued discussion of stuff on the site and general cultural momentum and education will see things continue to improve over time, and feel like that has in fact happened to some extent over the last several years, but that's relatively easy for me to say as someone who has proportionally little skin in the game.

I do agree with the idea that that's something that's largely independent of this specific idea; not that it's not important and worth continue trying to figure out how to improve on, just that it's not really central to what the #MonthBy proposals have been about and so maybe not something we can really tie directly to the idea of doing or not doing #JuneByLGBQT unless we want to end up in a place where the mefi community doesn't do anything until we fix everything. But it's still worth broaching in context and it's helpful to hear where you're coming from with your reservations, so thanks for that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:31 PM on May 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


One practical difference - and you mention this - is that I would argue there are far fewer queer people participating here in relation to straight-cis people, compared to women to men. So to give you an example of how that'd play out - I remember one of the FPPs during WomensMarch was one on apps for period tracking and some men predictably waded into the conversation to talk about how it wasn't worthy because they weren't interested in that - something that got smacked down by a whole bunch of women chiming up and calling that out. I can't see the same thing happening in a queer FPP - if that happens, it's going to be a deluge of straight-cis people rather queer people speaking for themselves, and that's one of the dynamics here that I'm referencing as an issue even if all of these straight-cis people are well-meaning. The perception of being this drastically outnumbered by straight-cis people heavily informs my tone, vocabulary, presentation, and performance. Quite frankly speaking, I get anxious commenting here sometimes. People have brought up the time I used, in a topic explicitly about gay men and HIV, the word "serosorting" - really common in queer communities - and a bunch of people accused me of being manipulative and disingenuous because they, as straight people, had never heard of it.

Power dynamics are subtle, and I will admit the perception of being this incredibly outnumbered is influencing the way I'm perceiving this conversation. I'm going to be totally honest here and saying that all of these arguments and explanations from self-identified straight-cis people about how it's going to help the site, help power dynamics, help representation, that this worked for women, that we need to take steps forwards, etc is just making me feel even more threatened. I'm reading it as being very patronizing and coercive, and I feel like I'm repeatedly being taken to task by straight people who pop in and try to offer solutions and commentary on my concerns one after another. The only thing that stops me from saying "no" to this proposal rather than being on the fence is that some queer members have spoken up to state that they'd appreciate being able to identity and relate to other queer members better. I'm feeling very threatened even having to state this because I get the sense that people are going to use this against me to claim that I'm being overly emotional and projecting my own feelings onto this issue, rather than trying to see my point about how it's important to frame this properly. Overall, I feel like I can't participate in this unless I see this as a thing for queer members, rather than a thing for the majority straight-cis site. This reflects the larger dynamic in the site where I feel like straight-cis people need to take a step back in how overbearing they are when we're discussing queer issues and power dynamics. Even in this Metatalk, I feel like I have to measure and pare down my own reactions and comments to address straight-cis expectations, rather than talk to queer people. As another example, the previous WomensMarch Metatalks became a space where women were able to enthusiastically plan and talk to each other. I'm worried we can't replicate that with straight-cis people popping in with three comments to every one post a queer person makes, nitpicking and making empty comments. If this thread was largely queer people talking to each other rather than people constantly popping in and going "I'm straight-cis and I think it's a good idea because it'd benefit me", I would have been onboard already.

I really do appreciate mudpuppie's comment, because I think it states some of the points I make here well.
posted by Conspire at 2:56 PM on May 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


I don't think we were really being hyper-vigilant or anything during those previous month events, so much as just keeping it in mind in particular in the context of new posters getting a decent reception and also asking folks in the community at large to help out by flagging early and often

I think one of the reasons for the truly excellent moderation during the most recent women's month at least was because we had just had a very long and vociferous thread in which many of us talked about how we didn't flag things that had just started to bother us, or we didn't bother sending explanations to mods when we flagged things. And a lot of us women who are active in woman-related posting and had issues with misogyny started flagging the ever living fuck out of things that were a real problem but might be hard to explain, and we went into the muck and did the spade work of contacting mods and telling them why something sucked.

I was someone who was extremely skeptical that this would fix things at all, and who was like 'mutter mutter mods won't care mutter' - but the plain fact is that when contacted, they truly did! I kept being pleasantly surprised! So I wouldn't worry so much about moderation being sensitive - if everyone is trying to be sensitive and trying to flag I think the system can work well as intended.
posted by corb at 2:56 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why must we have the same stupid discussion every single time a #monthby____ is proposed?

There is not one bit of harm done by encouraging members of a minority group to speak up and share their passions and things they find interesting or weird or funny or noteworthy. Nothing about this is "HEY QUEER PEOPLE YOU MUST POST QUEER THINGS." It's saying "Hey people who happen to be queer, what are you interested in? Please post! Let's see some stuff that isn't necessarily coming from the dominant demographics of the site."

That's what's been happening in every #monthby before now, and nothing else. And, frankly, the incredible success of previous #months--amazing FPPs, and JCIFA is obviously the star example of shell-coming-out-of--makes it astonishing to me that here we are again, having the same stupid argument.

I'll be posting, whatever the hashtag is called. And per a thought raised upthread, how about #Nuly for the month after, to encourage everyone who's never made an FPP to make their first?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm a new lurker, with only a few comments and a couple of IRL encounters under my belt, so I recognise my ignorance of the details of MeFi community. The thing I like about the idea is encouraging the voices of people who identify somewhere among the QUITLBAG mix, especially those who aren't cis gay men, and tend to have their identities erased routinely. An encouragement to reaffirm those identities, especially in a generalist forum seems a valuable thing to me. FTR, I identify as queer, but have passing privilege.

I've read and resonated with everything Conspire has said, though. My take on that position is that I feel that any minority group's nuanced issues need more airtime in generalist places, because they are not issues confined to those minority groups - they largely arise from all of society and all of society needs to understand them, in all their complexity, to deal with it. I would love to see a progressive community like MeFi engage with "minority" issues genuinely, and I'd love to think that regular events that encourage voices of non white, cis, het, able bodied men might make that easier. At least in the long run. But I completely understand the fatigue Conspire and others have mentioned. It really needs to come with an understanding that people outside the group in question need to listen, and really consider whether their voice is needed here. I have no idea whether that's likely to be able to happen here, but I try to be an optimist.
posted by shonias at 3:27 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll be posting, whatever the hashtag is called. And per a thought raised upthread, how about #Nuly for the month after, to encourage everyone who's never made an FPP to make their first?

We talked in March about doing a Month to Encourage and Help First Time Posters, and were talking about doing it in July then. (I have a Calendar reminder to post a MeTa on June 15). I would suggest pushing the First Time Poster Encouragement Post back 3 months from then now (if this effort goes forth), just because I think having space between these encouragement posts is good for the site.
posted by julen at 3:30 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Push it four months and call it #Newvember.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:33 PM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Calling thoughtful and nuanced reservations about the project "stupid" or "already solved" is not helping anything here.
posted by jaguar at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the exact same argument has already been thrashed out multiple times, with literally the exact same things said and only the specific identity label being swapped out, I'm pretty comfortable calling the argument stupid at this point.

Seriously, go back to the previous #monthby MeTas. The exact same identical arguments. No difference. Exactly the same. The only new one is Conspire's valid concern about performing queerness and for whom. Everything else is a tired rehash.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:48 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speaking of trans issues, what do trans posters think about this idea? I haven't seen anyone go "I'm the T, and..." yet, but I know that Metafilter has had a long history of trans* discussions and lots of members trying to increase the quality of that discussion.

Umm... hi. The idea that such a month might "increase the quality of that discussion" is part of my discomfort with it. If that idea is in the back of anyone's head, this idea can't really be about getting queer people to post, it's about getting queer people to do work on behalf of the community.

(Disclaimer: I have never posted anything trans-related nor do I expect I ever will. Trans stuff I might be inclined to post is firmly in the 'too queer for Metafilter' category.)

I'm feeling very threatened even having to state this because I get the sense that people are going to use this against me to claim that I'm being overly emotional and projecting my own feelings onto this issue, rather than trying to see my point about how it's important to frame this properly.

Very much this.
posted by hoyland at 3:55 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only new one is Conspire's valid concern about performing queerness and for whom. Everything else is a tired rehash.

To my mind, that's the only concern that's been raised. (People keep telling me I'm "misunderstanding" and that I think there's an explicit obligation to post queer content. I've clearly not done a very good job of expressing my feelings, as I noted earlier.)
posted by hoyland at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gay guy here. Hate these ideas in general, but only feel I'm allowed to express an opinion on this one as I'm in the demographic. Metafilter is one of the most gay-positive places I've seen on the net, and I've never felt intimidated/silenced because I'm gay. Having a month where scared oppressed bullied little me is coaxed to post, promised a 'safe space' where 'het' voices who oppose my views will be silenced... well, it's just insulting. I'm not in need of this help, and I can only try to feel compassion for my Queer siblings who feel so held down in Metafilter.

To the extent there's pushback on the more 'radical queer' ideas, well guess what, you'd get that in a group of gay guys too.
posted by kevinsp8 at 4:19 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Conclusion: Queerdom contains multitudes.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:25 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


So because of this, phunnienee made me this today, so I'm declaring #JuneByLGBTQ a success on the first Wednesday of May.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:35 PM on May 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


For what it's worth, I'm trans and I'm in the same camp as hoyland on this — I don't post trans-related stuff here, probably never will, and prefer to have those conversations elsewhere.

Partly it's the stress of worrying whether cis people will say something clueless or start a fight or require the trans users to step in and be all Trans 101. The site is doing much better about that stuff than it was a year or two ago, but my pulse still speeds up a bit when I see a trans-related thread, because there's still a nonzero chance of shittiness.

But mostly it's not that, it's just… I mean, why would I want to talk about that stuff in a community where 99% of the people reading have no actual connection to it? If someone else brings it up I'll participate in the conversation — but when I see something cool and trans-related on the web and want to discuss it, I don't come here, I go to other communities where more of the readership will be speaking from experience rather than just playing devil's advocate.

Basically, this site is never going to be the best venue for discussing Gender Shit, and I'm okay with that. But that does mean that I post FPPs very rarely, because Gender Shit is about the only stuff that I see sooner than anyone else. Unless a link is going around on trans Twitter or trans Tumblr before it hits the general population, I'm usually the last one in the world to see it — and the stuff that catches on first on trans Twitter or trans Tumblr probably won't play well here. So it goes.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:02 PM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was a little skeptical when JulyByWomen was suggested, but I didn't have any better ideas. I am always concerned about how encouragement of that sort can be othering and can reinforce a person's second class citizen status in ways that are harder to combat than blatant open hostility towards a particular demographic. But I think both monthsbywomen initiatives went really well and I think it had a net positive impact.

I appreciate the remarks made by sciatrix and a few others in that I don't really ID as heterosexual, but for all intents and purposes I live as a heterosexual. So I don't believe I will be inclined to use the hashtag myself and I feel a bit like an outsider commenting in this thread.

But I came to comment because I participate in a very male dominated forum where I appear to be the most prominent openly female member. I was really given hell for a long time and I even stopped participating for a time when it just got too ugly and wasn't worth it. After mostly being gone for a time, when I came back, things were subtly different. I don't get any rah-rah, we love you as the most prominent woman here type feedback, but I also no longer get just ganged up on and get the crap kicked out of me simply for opening my mouth. I have seen other indicators that women are generally participating more and generally getting less crapped on there. I am reasonably confident that part of why things changed is because of the example I set of posting as very openly female, even in discussions where my gender wasn't necessarily obviously relevant information. It took time, but it did eventually have a positive impact.

Based in part on those experiences, I think one of the benefits of an initiative like this is seeing people of a particular demographic self-ID as that demographic while discussing "normal" topics and another is seeing how they are simultaneously "normal" in that they have some of the same interests as the majority demographic but also that there are differences in how they relate to those same interests. I think that is a powerful way to both reduce prejudice and help bring more nuance to discussions and begin breaking down some of the subtler forms of discrimination.

So I am all for people voluntarily using a tag that self-IDs them as part of this demographic and then posting on whatever they want to post on. I think that's a really good way to break down barriers and improve the way the community relates to various subgroups.

LGBTQ does not seem to be universally used/preferred, even in this discussion. I am seeing several different acronyms used here. I will suggest that perhaps it would be useful to discuss which acronym in specific would be preferred for the hashtag.
posted by Michele in California at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


How about we give this a try and see how it goes? It's not like we're obliged to do it again if it goes poorly.
posted by FishBike at 5:15 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


> Umm... hi. The idea that such a month might "increase the quality of that discussion" is part of my discomfort with it. If that idea is in the back of anyone's head, this idea can't really be about getting queer people to post, it's about getting queer people to do work on behalf of the community.

Oh no, I didn't intend that at all but I clearly see how I didn't communicate that point well. I actually meant that to be a euphemism for "trans people have to do a lot of heavy lifting about MAKING the community safer for them and I have seen a lot of people expressing exhaustion and frustration about that, so I'd like to know how you guys feel explicitly." Thank you for clarifying re: identity, by the way--this is a discussion where figuring out how to respond really is colored by having a rough idea how people identify for me, and I don't necessarily know everyone in here well enough to know that off the top of my head. I'm terribly sorry if I made you feel erased by not knowing, though!

> I think one of the challenges is that many of the nuances of queer issues are frequently used as weapons for straight-cis people to attack us or between different subgroups within queer identities - so they don't mesh well into a generalist website since they frequently come off as dogwhistles.

I want to pick this bit out, both because I think it's absolutely true but also because I want to talk about the bit I bolded for a second. Because yeah, intergroup tensions between different queer identities are a big part of the thing that makes having these conversations hard. That was actually a thing that struck me really saliently on the FPP about butch identities I made. The community background I come out of is one where there is a lot of effort made to acknowledge both binary and non-binary trans identities and people who identify as cis but visibly non-gender-conforming are actually much harder to find. So I was not anticipating the hurt or aggravated response that people who had very, very different experiences had to the post, and if I did the same FPP in the future I would have looked for additional articles and been more careful with my framing to try to avoid hitting people's sore spots in the same way. I'm still really interested in why people choose the identities they do, but I don't want to accidentally tread on a chafed topic, either.

That said, I appreciated those responses a lot. They give me a much better sense of how different peoples' experiences influence how they respond to ideas, and they give me a much better sense of how communities wash up against each other and break on each other. One of the things I actually really value about queer-related discussions on Metafilter, when they go well, is a direct facet of Metafilter's status as a general interest site rather than a queer one. Because the online queer spaces I hang out in are not the online queer spaces other people hang out in, and ditto for the offline spaces; people have different experiences and different senses of how things interact and different opinions, and sometimes they collide with a bang here. And I think that is incredibly valuable, and it is one of the things that makes me really grateful to be here. I don't think I would experience those perspectives off Metafilter, and certainly I wouldn't have as easy access to them.

> Personally, I'd like to see a lot less of "I'm cis but thank you so much for educating me and you all have been so valuable to my self development" and "I'm straight but I just wanted to say go gay people!" too. Other queer people might find this supportive, but it drags the conversation back to centering straight people all over again. When I see comments like this, it makes me feel like that everything I say is on showcase for straight people here.

Oh, christ, this. I don't have much to add here, but I gotta admit that at best I am... politely eyerolling, I guess, at comments like that. Stuff like this comment upthread is the sort of thing that actually makes me kind of uncomfortable, because it's a story that is so completely irrelevant to the topic--the only points of attachment there are that they both involve gay people--and is also all about Mr. Yuck's feelings about this gay client of his. (Not to single you out specifically, Mr. Yuck! Just, it happens all the time, and I get the sense lots of people feel it's heartwarming... but for me, it often comes off as kind of "yeah, okay, but about that topic..." or "Not... actually your inspiring showcase, but thank you.") I didn't flag it because it's clearly well meant, but it definitely made me raise an eyebrow and think "Okay, thanks for sharing?" in a less than pleased way. Straight/cis people, maybe think about that?

Conspire, I also want to nod along and acknowledge your point about the difference in numbers between queer-identified people and cis/straight people and the influence that has on conversation. One factor that I see in comparable situations with women is that one woman will make a cranky comment and then many others will back her up, which makes it more likely that she'll comment again in the future--but I am not sure whether queer-identified people have the numbers on the site to do that. I also have reservations about cis/straight people wading in and doing the call-outs as allies, because not... all of them are really all that great about knowing who the "right" targets are. It's hard! And that comes along with being a general interest site. That said, I actually hope that this initiative might help with that, somewhat, by making it more easy to identify other people who might be likely to wade in and say "no, actually, so-and-so is wrong about that" in the future. Building social networks kind of requires you to know where the nodes are, you know? And I certainly keep a mental list of women in my head in the same way I try to keep a mental list of queer identities straight.
posted by sciatrix at 5:32 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


And, here's this:

No one is forcing anyone to post anything.
No one needs to use the tag.
In fact, it's even possible to skip Metafilter right through the end of June.
posted by disclaimer at 5:33 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh no, I didn't intend that at all but I clearly see how I didn't communicate that point well.

Yeah, sorry, I didn't think you intended it, but it's what I suspect many people are thinking with respect to a theme month (either about trans stuff specifically or queer stuff generally).
posted by hoyland at 5:38 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey you guys, I think the concerns people are talking about are interesting, and I think it's worth it to think through why people are responding the way they are. I'm still for this hashtag and I've explained why, but I'm interested in letting this conversation keep going. The point that "no one is forcing anyone to participate!" has been made four or five times now. Twice in the past fifteen minutes. I think we've got the memo now?
posted by sciatrix at 5:39 PM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, I didn't think you intended it, but it's what I suspect many people are thinking with respect to a theme month (either about trans stuff specifically or queer stuff generally).

Either way, it's certainly a point worth making and bringing out into the conversation, and thank you for doing that! :)
posted by sciatrix at 5:39 PM on May 6, 2015


disclaimer, I think the pushback we're getting from queer-identifying members of the site is that as minorities, they feel pressure to "perform" queerness in a way that will be acceptable to the cis/het members of the site, because the consequences of doing otherwise are emotionally exhausting. That's not a problem that can be solved by "well if you don't want to use the tag, just don't use it!" It's a problem with greater site culture that the hashtag may not help with.
posted by KathrynT at 5:41 PM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]

No one is forcing anyone to post anything.
I think that's a naive reading of how these things work, though. For instance, if the hashtag happens, will people feel compelled to post so that it's not a failure, thereby reinforcing queer invisibility? Will people feel compelled to respond to dumb comments, because they don't want to let ignorance slide?

Or on preview, what KathrynT said.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


No one is forcing anyone to post anything.
No one needs to use the tag.
In fact, it's even possible to skip Metafilter right through the end of June.


Not to single you out, but this is exactly a meta-level example of what I find so exhausting about talking about queer issues here. This exact point has popped up a dozen times. I've rebutted it in detail, and explained why I'm totally exhausted by people popping in and offering simple "solutions" to queer issues. If you have an issue with what I've said, that's one thing, but a parade of people coming in and making the same "yes but have you queer people considered THIS" comment over and over again makes me feel really, really unheard and makes me feel like all the energy I put into writing responses and trying to break down issues is wasted.
posted by Conspire at 5:47 PM on May 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


And you know, there's something especially gross about the idea that people who are made uncomfortable by the idea should just leave the site for a month. Isn't that exactly the opposite of what the thing is supposed to accomplish?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:53 PM on May 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Conspire said: ...makes me feel like all the energy I put into writing responses and trying to break down issues is wasted.

I'm actually glad you kept explaining and explaining though, because I think I was misunderstanding and minimizing your objection (and, I believe, hoyland's) early on. I had to stop my own internal cheerleading for a few minutes to get my head around why this idea might be complicated for people.

When Ivan F. mentioned having a disability-identified month, I had this horrible gut-drop feeling because of just how awful and difficult that would be, dredging up all these memories of conversations with people who can't quite understand what a disability is or how it works or how it is more than just an illness and how thinking "oh you poor sick thing" is pretty much just as crummy as "oh you lazy faker," and on and on. Not to bore anyone with my personal history, I'm just saying, that feeling also helped me understand the complications that you (Conspire) and others have talked about.

I'm also getting the impression that a lot of the queer people on this thread have a lot of other queer places to go, and the lack of that for me, might cause me to elide over some of the difficulties being expressed. I keep getting scared off when I try to visit queer places online. How come y'all are always so scary?

But in one of her excellent comments above, sciatrix pointed out the comments of some of the mefites whose words I'm always on the lookout for because I love reading what they have to say so much, and it's that--the possibility of participation of really intelligent people from all across whatever queer spectra we find ourselves on, the possibility not of "educaaaaaate meeeee" but of feeling connected to people who are not in my exact same identity--that possibility excites me still.
posted by mittens at 6:11 PM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


there's something especially gross about the idea that people who are made uncomfortable by the idea should just leave the site for a month

There is also something gross about a few people being uncomfortable and very vocal having potential power to outright kill the idea. I didn't argue against JulyByWomen because, although I had my reservations about it, I didn't have any better ideas and, also, it's a community. It's not my personal web space. So I rolled up my sleeves and did my best to support the initiative that a lot of other people were interested in trying.

The site where I appear to be the most prominent openly female member has historically self reported as overwhelmingly male, as much as 98% male. So I think I can identify some with how very hard it can be to participate as part of a tiny minority. As I said above, I think this initiative is a means to address some of the concerns being expressed here and make some headway on some of these problems. And I am not seeing anyone here come up with suggestions on how else to resolve some of these problems.
posted by Michele in California at 6:14 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I have really appreciated the comments that Conspire and hoyland have made over the course of this thread. I am still for the theme month, but the points Conspire is bringing up are useful for me with respect to how I respond to clueless or irritating comments in the same way that the discussion about how to respond to sexism before WomensMarch were useful to me. And I would be pretty sorry if the chorus of "don't like don't read" caused him to leave the site, even for a month.
posted by sciatrix at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am a queer chick and I think junebylgbtq is a great idea and I like this idea!

I will probably end up feeling guilty because I should totally find more stuff and post it, but that's my issue not yours.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


That said, I am also getting pretty excited to see what people come up with to share, and thinking about the sorts of complicated queer topics I would like to dig up neat pages about and share with the community, because that is a thing I enjoy inside or outside of the context of theme months. (This whole discussion is making me think happy thoughts about complexity and community and also about the history of identities, which I know a little about but would love to know more of.) And I will be terribly pleased to see if the impetus of a direct welcome to post encourages anyone to share something new with the front page.
posted by sciatrix at 6:26 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: I would prefer if we are separated out by color, since we're not a monolithic group.

uosuaq: Well, we can stick to monolithic groups like "LGBTQ" or "women" then. I think it's a neat idea if it simply encourages new people to try posting, not so much if it leads to unnecessary discord.

[jayder:] uosuaq's attitude is a strange one. Nothing Brandon Blatcher said suggested "discord." A month encouraging black people to post, especially since this is a US-centric site and blacks are the most marginalized and excluded groups in this society, would be a good thing and it's weird for uosuaq to declare "we can still [typo: stick] to monolithic groups" rather than give a specific minority group a month of encouragement. It's offensive, actually.


I'm sure I was too quick to be irritated at the reminder that "people of color" is an umbrella term and not a monolithic group, which is why I got sarcastic by bringing up "LGBTQ" (does that sound monolithic? it's an awful lot of initials) and "women" (sure it's just one word, but it's 50+ percent of the world's population...probably not monolithic either).

Nothing Brandon Blatcher said suggested discord, no. But I got a little apprehensive about what it would mean to separate the "people of color" umbrella group into the right number of "colors", and decide who got which month, etc. I hadn't noticed any "January for L, February for G, March for B" comments previously. And I feel like we're already seeing some discord in this thread, even if it's about what "$month for $X" is supposed to mean.

I quite understand your mistaking my "attitude", because I have a weakness for making points in an oblique and sarcastic way. But my attitude is that "$month for $X" seems to have had some success a couple times in the past by encouraging people who haven't posted before to post (about ANYTHING AT ALL). I'd be in favor of "October by left-handed people" if it resulted in one or two left-handed people saying "hey, that's me!" and finding out that posting is actually kind of fun. Even better if the choice of $X encourages people who might feel a little marginalized on this site to join in (which is why I included $month by non-Americans, since this *is* a pretty US-centric site).
posted by uosuaq at 6:39 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm also getting the impression that a lot of the queer people on this thread have a lot of other queer places to go, and the lack of that for me, might cause me to elide over some of the difficulties being expressed.

This. Where are the rest of you going? Metafilter is pretty much it for me. I mean, there's Autostraddle, but there's not really much conversation over there. This also adds to my anxiety about commenting on queer topics -- I don't feel more qualified to speak on the subject than a straight person just because I date women, since I don't really feel like part of a queer community. (And of course as a nominally bi woman I have not-gay-enough insecurities as well.) So I was thinking that #JunebyLGBTQ would be a good opportunity to increase visibility and go "oh hey, me too!"
posted by zeptoweasel at 6:43 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


This. Where are the rest of you going?

I get my queer news from tumblr, but as for interpersonal interaction, I have a core group of radical feminist/queer friends from my university - perks of being in the system, I guess. Otherwise I just bug random queer mefites through various capacities - mefi mail, Skype, Facebook Messenger.
posted by Conspire at 6:46 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh and yeah, I sit on two queer nonprofit boards and am heavily involved in those communities through that. I feel like queer stuff can be hard to do online in less personal platforms because it really needs a strong base of solidarity to dig into the interesting stuff without coming off as dogwhistley, as I mentioned before. So I get most of my fill through in person interactions or one on one online discussions.
posted by Conspire at 6:50 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do you have any tumblr recommendations?
posted by zeptoweasel at 6:50 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


This. Where are the rest of you going?

I'm a bit out of the loop right now, but I hang out around a variety of asexual-spectrum blogs, had/have a rather neglected tumblr, and also have a group of friends on Facebook from my old university LGBTQA group. I've also hung out with/met queer friends via work connections, and I run a weekly asexual-spectrum meetup which forms the bulk of my offline community. I also follow Queereka, the odd piece from a Geek Feminism website, and a couple of other people's reading pages on Dreamwidth that tend to have queer women commenting. I am not precisely a community member on that last, though, just a lurker.

Shit, I should pay attention to tumblr more. I just really hate the goddamn interface.
posted by sciatrix at 6:54 PM on May 6, 2015


But I got a little apprehensive about what it would mean to separate the "people of color" umbrella group into the right number of "colors", and decide who got which month, etc.

I understand that.

One thing that puzzles me about this LGBTQ month proposal is that it seems to be focusing on a group that is already relatively privileged in Metafilter discourse. We have tons of queer and trans material posted here. Lots of openly queer and trans people posting. So it does not seem to be a group that is lacking in vocal representation on the site, and while perhaps there are some queer members who are reticent about participating, I've seen no indication that that's the case.

On the other hand, I see very little encouragement of black Americans to post. Occasionally I see people self-identify as black, but not often. Black History Month came and went and there was no suggestion that October be "OctoberByBlacks." I wonder why that is the case?

I would argue that American blacks, on average, have a perspective that is much more different from the average Mefite's than, say, queers or trans people do. So, if we are looking to welcome a diversity of voices, hear from people who are truly historically maligned and marginalized and shut out of discussion, it would be blacks. If we are looking for a group that urgently needs to be encouraged to participate, I would suggest a month for American blacks would be more of a priority.
posted by jayder at 7:01 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be comfortable posting any specific blogs in a public venue because most of these are just small blogs by people who circulate news fast (and a lot are my IRL friends too) and I'm not sure if they'd be okay with all the sudden attention and follows, but my own is highpitchedwhining.tumblr.com. I don't reblog content as much as I do longform text posts though, so maybe other queer mefites could share their's as well if they're comfortable?
posted by Conspire at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, I see very little encouragement of black Americans to post. Occasionally I see people self-identify as black, but not often. Black History Month came and went and there was no suggestion that October be "OctoberByBlacks." I wonder why that is the case?

Because you didn't suggest it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:07 PM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Hey, have followed you! I'm writingfromfactorx.tumblr.com, and while I have the same concerns that Conspire does about sharing little small blogs, most of my tumblr is reblogs and commentary and conversations with other people. I lurk a lot, but zeptoweasel, you can probably find people who I think are potentially interesting by clicking on the people I've reblogged.

In general, though, my other big discomfort with Tumblr is that it's very easy to wind up dogpiling on people and for posts or memes or content to spread way, way out of control. It is absolutely not a space I always feel safe in, and it's kind of hard for me to filter through all the image posts I don't care much about and get to the textual conversations I came to the site for. Of course, your mileage may vary.
posted by sciatrix at 7:10 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


The site where I appear to be the most prominent openly female member has historically self reported as overwhelmingly male, as much as 98% male. So I think I can identify some with how very hard it can be to participate as part of a tiny minority.

I think it would be really good for this discussion if people who don't identify as LGBTQ -- the collection of folks that this thread is specifically about -- don't try to compare their own experiences to what it must be like to be LGBTQ. That's the kind of thing that's causing contention in this thread, and it's the kind of thing that a lot of people worry the whole hashtag thing would lead to. I mean, maybe it's inevitable, and maybe that's why a lot of the queer folks here are throwing out big old Nopes. But also maybe we can not do it here?
posted by mudpuppie at 7:11 PM on May 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


I think it would be really good for this discussion if people who don't identify as LGBTQ -- the collection of folks that this thread is specifically about -- don't try to compare their own experiences to what it must be like to be LGBTQ.

Yes, and...

Because you didn't suggest it.

... is not fair either. Maybe less blaming historically marginalized people for not putting themselves forward more as well as less telling other people how they should feel.
posted by jaguar at 7:14 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, mostly what other people have said: twitter (widget in profile), tumblr (leahvelcro.tumblr.com, though mostly I just reblog shit), IM conversations. Also, a pretty carefully curated Facebook friends list, sporadic participation in trans-related subreddits (toxic in large doses but occasionally worthwhile for practical information) and occasional dips into IRC if invited to a channel by someone I know from elsewhere.

Basically I've given up on the idea of a capital-Q capital-C Queer Community where everyone will belong, and just try to connect with individual queers who happen to cross my path and seem interesting and friendly. Y'all should totally come say hi on twitter.

posted by nebulawindphone at 7:14 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


But I fear twitter... but god, it can't be any more obnoxious an interface than tumblr.
posted by sciatrix at 7:19 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Differently obnoxious — it's like they took all the things that are good about tumblr and made them suck, and vice versa.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:22 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


uuuuuuuuuuuugh.

Did anyone check out that Slack chat which was brought up by this FPP by joseph conrad is truly awesome? They seemed like very nice people when I investigated but it turns out I have a rather short attention span.
posted by sciatrix at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a cool idea. Go for it, y'all.
posted by Miko at 8:10 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Oh! That's why I just received a favorite on it - thanks for the mention sciatrix, I hope people find it useful/interesting. It was really fun researching...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:11 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if anyone noticed, but I'm gay, and I'm pretty open about it. Anyone who thinks I've been "pushing back" about any point in this conversation (except for what I had to say to one member earlier today) has an incorrect perception. I'd just like to make that point.

And to clarify that I understand the points raised by Conspire and having internalized some of those points through my past years as an activist, I don't think that it's a community problem to fix unless there is pressure coming from other community members to post, or not post, anything to this site.

I wasn't trying to be "clueless" or "irritating".
posted by disclaimer at 8:15 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was of two minds about commenting at all above, because I'm not straight but I pass, so I don't feel like I am a MeFi QUILTBAG member but I'm someone who benefited from the previous hashtag month. Anyway, I'm very sorry if anything I said made anyone feel threatened, because that is entirely counter to my intent in commenting at all.

I also think that maybe there's something going on here where possibly many queer people don't occupy the same embattled spaces at MeFi as many trans and gender-non-conforming people (queer or not)? Regardless, there are members thoughtfully and patiently delineating the ways in which they feel threatened by the prospect of engaging with the cishet majority under a banner hashtag, and the ways in which they are already drained by engaging with regular FPPs that include opportunities for cishet people to opine and demand and speculate about aspects of sexual and gender minorities. The conversation we had about women on MeFi required multiple iterations and was very painful and draining, but I think it was particularly fruitful to repeatedly and explicitly interrogate what the aspects were that were worst and what a more welcoming site would look like. The hashtag grew out of that and I don't think it would have meant much without it.

I think that whether we're talking about Black or QUILTBAG or Disabled MeFi Month, people who are exhausted by repeatedly being silenced and allowed only to be educators and inspirations have to decide that it's important enough to them to endure those painful conversations about how MeFi fails them and how it could succeed, and to do it to a point where a hashtag supports a meaningful effort to amplify their true voices. Everyone who isn't a member of those underrepresented groups can support those efforts by listening, mostly silently, and by controlling their urges to re-center or defend themselves in the conversation.
posted by gingerest at 8:56 PM on May 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Poking my head up here as a trans person to share my thoughts since that was requested upthread, those being:

1. It sounds to me like there are a goodly number of people who would like to be able to post with some variation on #JuneByLGBT+ as a little solidarity flag. It's Pride month, and you can put on your rainbow flag button and slap on your hashtag, and it's nice to be out and see others being the same.

2. At least a few people think they might post when they hadn't before, and more FPPs are a good thing. But as others have noted there are almost certainly lot fewer queer folk than women on MeFI, so there might not be much of an uptick in posts, and it would be sad if that turned out to disappoint people.

3. Speaking as a trans MeFite, I do have some reservations. Even though we're stipulated this event would be about self-identification rather than content, personally I think I'd experience some feeling I ought to represent and queer up the place a bit. And talking about trans matters on MeFi has often proved exhausting. We've crossed an important milestone here in the past couple of years, when through a huge MetaTalk it became officially Not OK to misgender people, but it has been a long, hard slog. Trans people had to really put themselves out there and do a lot of educating and deal with a lot of dreck, and there were people who got burned in the process, and people who left the site. Since then things have definitely improved, but the level-of-discourse issue Conspire raised is often very notable in trans-related posts here. So, the risks of posting on a trans topic feel higher than on topics considered socially noncontroversial, and the rewards likely to be lower. Still, the trajectory has at least been an upward one, and there are some amazing people out there in the MeFiSphere with whom I'd love to have more conversations about trans topics. Certainly I would be filled with glee if we got to a point where conversations about sex and gender variance were as sophisticated and derail-free as conversations on such lovely and arcane topics as ancient Greek poetry here.

TL;DR: since there are people into the idea, go ahead, but please be respectful of why folks have reservations, and recognize that it's not a simple analog of the #JulyByWomen situation.
posted by DrMew at 10:09 PM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm trans and non-heterosexual and I think this sounds like a good idea. I might not personally do it, but that doesn't mean other people shouldn't. And my reasons for staying away from posting about queer-related stuff (also, posting at all on Metafilter) have more to do with wanting to avoid infighting. I sort of feel the opposite pressures as some other people here have talked about - the "allies" who annoy me are the ones who assume that just because of how I look naked or who I do and don't want to have sex with that means I have an entirely different outlook on life and automatically have political views that involve overthrowing all of modern society or something like that. And that's amplified when you end up in situations where the only people that are openly queer are the ones posting about queer issues - I really like things like this proposal, where it's an opportunity to sort of realize that queer people can enjoy the history of fuse boxes or pictures of kittens or a new website that looks cool just as much as cishet people can, and it doesn't make me a bad trans person or secretly cis and it won't make other people assume I'm cishet just because that's what I'm interested in.
posted by CJF at 10:12 PM on May 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm a fan of anything that amplifies or encourages rainbow/QUILTBAG/queer/LGBTQ+/etc voices, though I think my personal preference would be for either a generic term like "rainbow" (since I know people who are in the LGBTQ+ demographic group who aren't comfortable identifying as queer" or QUILTBAG or something else, just because I totally think ace and intersex people should be welcomed if they feel like joining in and they aren't in some of the other acronyms. I like RainbowJune or JuneRainbow personally.

I think that even though it's improved some lately MetaFilter has a pretty bad track record with trans issues in particular, though; a lot of good trans users have been driven away over the years and I think that content that is transphobic is way more tolerated than a lot of other awful bigoted content, and I don't know how to do this in a way so that trans users don't feel like they're obligated to empty the ocean of cis ignorance and bigotry with a bucket, but I think that there's a legitimate concern there. I know that while I recommend MetaFilter sometimes to people, I usually do it with a caveat that it can be really shitty and 101-level on a lot of social justice topics with transphobia being the biggest one.

I really like things like this proposal, where it's an opportunity to sort of realize that queer people can enjoy the history of fuse boxes or pictures of kittens or a new website that looks cool just as much as cishet people can, and it doesn't make me a bad trans person or secretly cis and it won't make other people assume I'm cishet just because that's what I'm interested in.

This really struck a chord with me-- I'm cis, but I'm queer and in a relationship with a man and so people assume I'm hetero all the time; part of it is the relationship with a man thing, part of it is just assuming everyone is hetero, part of it is that I'm pretty gender-conforming and lots of people think all queer women fit into a certain set of gender presentation expectations. I wear a QUEER shirt a lot so that I feel less like I have put half of myself in the closet all the time just from people's expectations. But I really like the "queer people doin' normal stuff" thing, where normal stuff includes a LOT of stuff, some of which might be queer or queer-adjacent but much of which is in no way related to gender or sexual orientation because it's, like, fuse boxes or whatever.
posted by NoraReed at 11:30 PM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


(Disclaimer: I have never posted anything trans-related nor do I expect I ever will. Trans stuff I might be inclined to post is firmly in the 'too queer for Metafilter' category.)

Yes, but how do you know until you've even posted it?

I mean, really, most of what makes a post work or not work is framing. This is a difficult skill, and is one that can be learned. Many here in this thread have offered help (myself included), and there have been plenty of other MeTa threads about framing and such...

But I've posted flat out gay porn as an FPP and everything went fine.

I think that I would personally benefit greatly from having some of your trans stuff that you don't post being posted. It may not be easy to find the right way to frame the post, but as a man who is gay and who is on a long, continuous journey to try to understand lesbians and transgender people better, I always find I come away from a MeFi thread about those issues with at least a slightly more detailed understanding about the complex fractal that is human sexual and gender expression. And, to be honest, I'd rather read a bad discussion here than a good discussion nearly anywhere else.
posted by hippybear at 1:31 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't generally wade into discussions like these, though I do generally read them with interest. This time, I just wanted to say that while I fit under the Queer Umbrella somewhere, I likely won't be posting during the month. However, I will be reading every single FPP tagged with [whatever the tag turns out to be] because I think it's nice to spend time, as it were, with people who are like oneself. There's a huge amount of validation there, which is extremely valuable. Having the site be more visibly X-marginalised-group is a good thing, I think, for those people who are marginalised, because visibility is cool. I'm not just talking about queer people talking about "queer things", but also about queer people

I can totally see how "you are X, therefore educate me about X" is very unpleasant. I've been on both sides of that fence, and I still cringe when I think back to situations where I put someone on the spot. I have a great deal of respect for people who actually put themselves out there and tell the story, and perhaps a small amount of jealousy too, given the fact that I generally have difficulty communicating. There are a lot of members here who I greatly admire for their strength and ability to keep calm in the face of well-meaning allies (and downright nastiness sometimes), and I would love to see more from them. I think that any kind of pressure on people to talk about things would be very bad, and to be completely honest, I've had my mind changed about that by some of the comments in this thread.

I think there's an interesting concept going on, and I'm going to use an analogy to talk about it. I enjoy eating food, but don't often cook it. As someone who spends a lot of time in a kitchen, though, I'm someone who is sometimes seen as The Person Who Must Educate People In Cooking, even though that's not my area of speciality. I'd posit that those members who are chefs, who both spend a lot of time in kitchens and spend time teaching others to cook, would likely get that expectation thrown at them even more. Maybe sometimes they enjoy teaching people who to cook, but sometimes they just want to put a salad together without a bunch of hungry people stood on the other side of the room salivating and taking notes. That would annoy me, and I'm not even someone who makes a salad particularly well and is known for making excellent salads.

Ultimately, I would love to see more queer-people-visibility and more queer-things-visibility, but I can see why those members who don't feel up to it don't feel up to it.
posted by Solomon at 1:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been here a while and was a prolific poster for some of that time, sometimes on queer stuff but most times not, and I think this is a fine (if not exactly necessary) idea that sounds like fun for gltb Mefites. Let's do it. I'd love to see more self-identified queerish folks posting about whatever interests them.

I do have to add that I find some of the objections above odd and overblown. You really worry about "performing queerness" when straight folks say "I support you"? That seems juvenile. Get over it.
posted by mediareport at 5:26 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I got a little overexcited when I woke up this morning and there were new queer MeFites' Tumblrs and Twitters here for me to follow, so just in case anyone is wondering who the random new person following you is: cups-of-tea-and-history.tumblr.com or scbecker on Twitter is me. Hi! Sorry for all the cat pictures on Twitter. Unless you like cat pictures, in which case you and I are going to be really good friends.

If we go ahead, I like the RainbowJune suggestion above, as terminology has also been on my mind in this discussion. "Queer" works for me but I know it's not for everyone, and I'd want this effort to include aces, trans folks, intersex folks, genderfluid people, and anyone else who likes to self-identify in the general QUILTBAG realm and wishes to participate.
posted by Stacey at 5:29 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think that I would personally benefit greatly from having some of your trans stuff that you don't post being posted. It may not be easy to find the right way to frame the post, but as a man who is gay and who is on a long, continuous journey to try to understand lesbians and transgender people better, I always find I come away from a MeFi thread about those issues with at least a slightly more detailed understanding about the complex fractal that is human sexual and gender expression. And, to be honest, I'd rather read a bad discussion here than a good discussion nearly anywhere else.

But this is almost exactly emblematic of the problem. When you post trans content, you're risking creating an education burden for yourself or others. Personally, I'm still bruised from whatever the last dreadful thread and accompanying MeTa was. And the one before that, and so on. My heart literally sinks every time I see a trans-related post. If it's made by someone I know to be trans, I'm less worried, but there's been more than one occasion where I see a post by someone I'm pretty sure isn't trans and I've thought "Why did you do this to us?" I want the comments to any FPP to be an interesting discussion, and for trans posts that means not having to trans 101 again and again or having to find a tactful way to say "It's great that you want to be an ally, but you're going about it all wrong" or endless comments about "Thank you for educating me" or "I'm so happy things are getting better for trans people" (totally ignoring intersectionality--when you read something on Metafilter that you think is progress for trans people, it's most likely useless progress for many, but since people here can't understand ambivalence about pushing marriage equality above all else, asking for an intersectional understanding of anything else is pretty much a lost cause).
posted by hoyland at 5:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


hoyland has just made an argument for more trans-related posts, not less.
posted by mediareport at 5:41 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The key to the progress Mefi has made on trans issues, and queer issues in general, over the last dozen or so years has been simple: increased lgtb visibility. A month designed to encourage lgtb members to post more about whatever they like while tagging it with "hi how are you this is a post from a lgtb Mefite for whatever the fuck that might be worth which is almost certainly something larger than zero" would be a nice addition to that progress.
posted by mediareport at 5:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying more trans posts is bad, I'm saying that asking for more trans posts or more posts from trans (or queer) people in the name of visibility or education is problematic.
posted by hoyland at 5:57 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Good thing that's not what's happening here, then.

Right?
posted by mediareport at 6:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, for heaven's sake. 1) I was responding to a specific comment. 2) We've already been over this seven hundred times in the post already.

I'd be reacting very differently to this post if it was framed as "Hey, fellow queer Mefites, what if we did a theme month?" But it's not. Still might not participate, but I wouldn't feel like I was being used as a token.
posted by hoyland at 6:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Good lord. Used as a token? 700 times already, indeed.

Anyway it's a cool idea. I'm looking forward to the posts we wouldn't have otherwise seen.
posted by mediareport at 6:17 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I read roomthreeseventeen's profile as being likely some variant of lgbtq identified themself, given that they have made eighty fpps tagged lgbt on the blue out of a few hundred. Of course, I don't know them very well personally but that was my impression.
posted by sciatrix at 6:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speaking of trans issues, what do trans posters think about this idea? I haven't seen anyone go "I'm the T, and..." yet, but I know that Metafilter has had a long history of trans* discussions and lots of members trying to increase the quality of that discussion. I also know there's a very long general history of using "LGBT" even when people are not actually focusing on the T, which leads to trans people being excluded even when they're nominally supposed to be included.

Quoted for truth. Yet another trans person here who shares hoyland's reservations. I would be rather uncomfortable with #LGBT label if it's simply going to be LGB (which it seems like it would).


One thing that puzzles me about this LGBTQ month proposal is that it seems to be focusing on a group that is already relatively privileged in Metafilter discourse. We have tons of queer and trans material posted here. Lots of openly queer and trans people posting. So it does not seem to be a group that is lacking in vocal representation on the site, and while perhaps there are some queer members who are reticent about participating, I've seen no indication that that's the case.

I think most of the trans people on metafilter would take some issue with having us characterised as a privileged group here. Much as mefites love to harp on about how wonderful and inclusive they are, just look at how we've solved all the problems with transphobia, that is far from the reality most of us experience.
posted by Dysk at 6:39 AM on May 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


(Oh, and if what we really mean when we say 'LGBT' is 'queer' - which the discussion above very much seems to suggest - why not just use 'queer' for the tag, rather than 'lgbt' or 'rainbow' or whatever?)
posted by Dysk at 6:40 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really like the rainbow suggestions above, especially as I'm from the Bay Area and it references Gilbert Baker and its origins in San Francisco. That seems fitting if you want to look for historical symbols.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:46 AM on May 7, 2015


Oh here's an entry on Gilbert Baker with the symbolic meanings of the colors:

The colors on the Rainbow Flag reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. When Gilbert Baker raised the first Rainbow Flag at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978, it had eight colors, each with a symbolic meaning:

Hot Pink: sexuality
Red: life
Orange: healing
Yellow: sunlight
Green: nature
Turquoise: magic/art
Blue: serenity/harmony
Violet: spirit
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:47 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I read roomthreeseventeen's profile as being likely some variant of lgbtq identified themself, given that they have made eighty fpps tagged lgbt on the blue out of a few hundred. Of course, I don't know them very well personally but that was my impression.

I know you mean well, but I'm really uncomfortable with trying to potentially out people based on what they have tagged in Metafilter posts.
posted by corb at 6:55 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Jayder, I think you are wrong and I feel like your use of the word "privileged" is wrong and it seems to be purposefully button-pushing.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:56 AM on May 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


That's fair, although I'm not actually trying to out anyone--just explain how I perceived the post in terms of in/out group affiliations. Like I said, I don't know roomthreeseventeen well at all and there isn't a lot of explicit information easily available to go on.

One thing I have noticed in this discussion is that a lot of queer posters seem to be coming into the conversation assuming that their identities are obvious and well known to the community of people posting in the thread. That isn't always the case, though, because Metafilter is a big place with lots of people. One thing I like about this proposal is that it WILL give a better, entirely optional way for people to identify where other posters are coming from on topics of queer discussion.
posted by sciatrix at 7:03 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's fair, although I'm not actually trying to out anyone--just explain how I perceived the post in terms of in/out group affiliations.

Understandable.

Just a data point for you: according to related tags, I'm one of a top handful of posters of lgbt topics to the Blue. I'm cis and straight.
posted by zarq at 7:16 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd be reacting very differently to this post if it was framed as "Hey, fellow queer Mefites, what if we did a theme month?"

But that is, actually, exactly how this post was framed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:37 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm really uncomfortable with trying to potentially out people based on what they have tagged in Metafilter posts.

Yeah well I'm kind of uncomfortable with the implication that there's anything wrong with "potentially outing people" who regularly post about queer issues. What is this, the 1950s? Where the mere implication that someone is gay is enough to destroy them?
posted by mediareport at 7:40 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


What is this, the 1950s? Where the mere implication that someone is gay is enough to destroy them?

Even in the 2010's, the knowledge that someone is gay can potentially invite discrimination, harassment or worse from bigots, yes?

Even if it weren't, isn't one's sexuality still private/intimate information that they might prefer to keep private? Or at least retain control over disseminating?

Maybe I'm of an obsolete generation, but it still feels pretty damned rude to me to out people without their consent.
posted by zarq at 7:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


The way this thread has played out has moved me from yes to no. Our trans friends are raising legitimate concerns, and their concerns are being minimized and mischaracterized. And, frankly, I'm especially frustrated that some of the pushback against those concerns is coming from gay men who have been well-meaning but clueless in prior trans-related threads. I don't have faith right now in our community's ability to do this theme month in a way that is fun for trans people.

Nor would I, a queer cis person, be comfortable having an LGB-only theme month. There's too much history of LGB communities pushing forward with their interests alone without including trans people. I don't want to be a part of a community that does that, even if it's just a fun theme month on MeFi. I want to do this respectfully for L, G, B, and T MeFites or not at all.
posted by Banknote of the year at 7:53 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sorry, sciatrix -- it occurs to me that my last comment might come across as condemnatory and that's not my intent. I know you weren't trying to out anyone.
posted by zarq at 7:55 AM on May 7, 2015


some of the pushback against those concerns is coming from gay men who have been well-meaning but clueless in prior trans-related threads

Damn. That's a very sharp accusation. You should probably back it up. I'm not sure who it's directed to, but it definitely needs some evidence to be taken seriously.
posted by mediareport at 8:00 AM on May 7, 2015


I think it might be best for discussing the actual proposal if we don't get drawn off into focusing on individuals here? That seems like a recipe for an unpleasant derail.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, that's easy to say when it doesn't look like you could be the one accused of clueless behavior in trans-related threads. That would be arguable, for sure, but perhaps I'm misreading who Banknote's wide-angle insult was aimed at. Feel free to MeMail me with clarification, Banknote.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on May 7, 2015


Will do.
posted by Banknote of the year at 8:15 AM on May 7, 2015


I think it's a fair observation to discuss dynamic-wise, honestly. I share this feeling that some proliferic cis gay men posters on this site frequently minimize the concerns of trans members - and I've certainly been on the receiving end of this when I try to talk about queerness in relation to racism or disability. I'm worried the call for evidence here is less of an attempt to find solutions but to minimize, dismiss, and rules-lawyer the concerns of trans members when they try to discuss an attitude and dynamic in a more global context. It's present in this thread even - many gay male members have taken it upon themselves to state they don't have an issue personally - which is fine - but then they globalize it to state that no one else should and use it to accuse other members of being juviline, stupid, and emotional. This reflects larger dynamics within queer and site culture where white cis gay men often don't realize that other members of the queer community can be a lot more vulnerable than them, and then say really crappy things that reinforce these hierarchies.
posted by Conspire at 8:16 AM on May 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


Sorry, sciatrix -- it occurs to me that my last comment might come across as condemnatory and that's not my intent. I know you weren't trying to out anyone.

Not worried, not feeling offended, and that came through pretty clearly to me. I guess I am thinking, though... what is the role of allies here with respect to queer discussion? I have had well-meaning allies bring up the subject of asexuality and then request me as the only ace person in the room to explain things in more detail before, once notably when I was half-asleep and completely relaxed and incredibly uninterested in suddenly have to focus and play educator and be the Asexual Diplomat to Straight People. I have also had well-meaning allies gleefully wave topics at me which I am actually considerably more conflicted about than they realize as though I should feel a particular way about them. Should cis/straight people really be posting the majority of trans/queer fpps to the site? Because there are actually a bunch of queer-specific topics that are a bit more complicated than they appear beneath the surface.

Same-sex marriage, for example. I mentioned I'm taking full legal advantage of it in order to let my partner immigrate to the US earlier, right? And I'm really, really grateful that DOMA falling down has given me the opportunity to do that. But I'm actually really conflicted by the entire institution of marriage and I feel deeply strange taking advantage of it for a variety of reasons, some of which are political and some of which are personal. (After all, I literally did not ever consider this as an institution that I would ever be part of up until about eighteen months ago!)

I've encountered a lot of well-meaning friends who do things like refer to my partner as my wife in an attempt to be supportive and highlight my access to the legal institution. Which is a problem a) because I have weird squidgy feelings about the definition of romance vs other kinds of connections and relationships and would just really rather avoid pegging myself into a romantically normative box and b) because my partner does not actually identify as female and while we pick and choose who to make this clear to, 'wife' is way too gendered for both of us to use when we have our metaphorical hair down and c) because I'm really only doing this because immigration requires it and I would have preferred to be able to integrate my partner with my offline social circles (we met online) without the cultural weight of marriage looming over everything and getting in people's perceptions. I mean, I get why my friends do that, and I like them more for caring--but I wish they would just follow my lead and use the terms I prefer, which are more complicated than the whole "yay gay marriage is legal now I'm gonna really drive that home" narrative that seems to get prioritized.
posted by sciatrix at 8:18 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not worried, not feeling offended, and that came through pretty clearly to me.

OK, good. :)

Should cis/straight people really be posting the majority of trans/queer fpps to the site? Because there are actually a bunch of queer-specific topics that are a bit more complicated than they appear beneath the surface.

I'm completely open to feedback and happy to discuss any of my posts, including whether I've not framed them well, added enough nuance, etc.

But I gotta say, the idea that I'm somehow not gay enough to create a good post on an LGBT topic feels problematic. If not offensive.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not wedded to any actual answer to that question, FWIW. Just thought it might be a question worth asking, particularly in the context of trans posters here discussing their reaction to seeing new posts on trans issues.
posted by sciatrix at 8:36 AM on May 7, 2015


I share this feeling that some proliferic cis gay men posters on this site frequently minimize the concerns of trans members

Well, there it is again: a sharp accusation that gay male Mefites "frequently minimize" the concerns of trans members. Sorry, LobsterMitten, but that kind of wide-angle accusation deserves a callout. Of course that shit happens in the larger world; I've dealt with more than my share of transphobic gay men in my life. But here? In this thread?

It's more than fair to ask for specifics, if the wide-angle accusations are allowed to stand.
posted by mediareport at 8:37 AM on May 7, 2015


In the past MetaTalk has been the place to discuss problem behaviors, but it's also sometimes been nerd thunderdome, and that's something we're trying to steer away from when possible. "Who is the bad guy and do we agree that they're the bad guy, let's pore over their individual contributions" is going to be a distraction from the more general question of whether folks think a theme month for LGBTQ posters would be a good idea. That's why I'm suggesting it's not a great idea to pursue Demands for Evidence and really pushing the thread to discuss individuals.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:45 AM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


"That's why I'm suggesting it's not a great idea to pursue Demands for Evidence and really pushing the thread to discuss individuals."

Eh, catch-22. If somebody says "bad idea because" and somebody else says "I think your because statement needs some backing up" and then you say "you can't ask for elaboration" then your basically saying taking away from the "question of whether folks think a theme month for LGBTQ posters would be a good idea".

Or, at least, that's my perspective.
posted by I-baLL at 8:56 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, Lobstermitten, you're doing more than "suggesting." The mods have deleted comments, admonished people and curtailed discussion. That's different than a gentle suggestion. It's forcing the conversation away from specific paths.

Which is fine, if necessary. But it's not like you're raising the idea and leaving it up to us.
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on May 7, 2015


it's also sometimes been nerd thunderdome, and that's something we're trying to steer away from when possible

Understood. The point I'm trying to make, though, is that the kind of broad insult Conspire is offering is at least as obnoxious - and certainly more cowardly - than the kind of directly personal insult the mods routinely delete.
posted by mediareport at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would like to state right here and now that I am strongly against any push to turn this into 'let's pore over one contributor's statements in detail' time. I said that before when it was corb and I will say it now: I think those dogpile MeTas that are all about one person are terrifying to those of us who wonder when we'll be in the hot seat next, and I think they bring out the worst of the site. I am grateful to the mods, including LobsterMitten, for heading that shit off at the pass. It is not useful right now and I swear to god that if it starts in this thread I'm done with all of you for a while.

Plus I think this discussion right goddamn here is interesting and I'd rather not derail it with a referendum on any one person. If we could do that.
posted by sciatrix at 9:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah well I'm kind of uncomfortable with the implication that there's anything wrong with "potentially outing people" who regularly post about queer issues. What is this, the 1950s? Where the mere implication that someone is gay is enough to destroy them?

From my point of view, it's not about whether being outed as gay is enough to destroy someone. It's about whether it's morally okay to do it in the first place. People control their bodies and their sexuality - and also whether or not they want to share that sexuality, and who they want to share it with. (Mind, I know sciatrix didn't have anything negative in mind, I'm speaking more generally)

Not to mention, at last check, even if it were safe to be openly gay in every place in America (which I'm not sure it is), this is an international site.

I feel kind of weird even having to defend this - I thought this was an immutable rule of etiquette. Is this a new-generation thing?
posted by corb at 9:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, you know what? I think it is a problem. I don't think it's a problem if straight/cis people post a queer topic now and again, I'm certainly not for any ban on straight/cis people doing that. Post shit you think is interesting, no matter who you are.

But if most of the posts on queer shit are coming from straight/cis people and requiring queer/trans people to suddenly put in the effort to try and make sure they go well, that is a goddamn problem. I don't necessarily have evidence to suggest this is the case, but this whole thing has been increasingly bothering me as I get more and more pissed off with this thread.
posted by sciatrix at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've implicated the specific behavior that I find to be an issue - where queer members state that because they're comfortable with something, all queer people should be, and then explicitly attack, disparage, and mock other queer people for even expressing that they aren't comfortable - such as in this thread, where we've had a number of cis gay men explicitly call other queer members "stupid" and "juvenile" for even raising concerns in the first place. I'm interested in discussing this behavior specifically in regards to power hierarchies between queer identities specifically as it strikes me as something that negatively impacts especially trans members on our site. I'm not interested in singling out individual members as much as discussing the behavior. Ultimately, even if you somehow don't read this dynamic from the thread and from the site, I think it's still worthwhile to discuss why especially more marginalized queer identities - and particularly trans people - are more sensitive to this behavior, more liable to perceive these dynamics, and the impact of this behavior. If you don't feel like you're behaving this way - fantastic, we aren't talking about you. But this is a necessary conversation to have if we want to make this tag work for the more vulnerable voices within queer identities.
posted by Conspire at 9:27 AM on May 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


sciatrix: I would like to state right here and now that I am strongly against any push to turn this into 'let's pore over one contributor's statements in detail' time.

OK. The concern being raised is that there are mefites who have been disruptive in threads about topics related to this concept. So, you asked what we would like to see as far as moderation goes. When this idea gets off the ground, it would probably be best to ask the mods to try to keep a close eye on the usual suspects. We can probably assume the mods know who they are. Participants can also keep an eye on those threads when they're posted. If disruptions occur, the comments can be flagged and the mods can publicly tell 'em to knock it off.

This won't necessarily address the underlying problem. But it does address the symptoms while bypassing naming names, debates, or confrontations in this thread to allow those with concerns to help support this initiative.
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on May 7, 2015


I had a whole long comment typed up, but on preview?

No. Conspire, no. I'm sick of you mischaracterizing my comments. I have not explicitly called people stupid and juvenile. I have said that reiterating literally the exact same arguments--except, as I said, for your valid concerns about performing queerness--over people mistaking monthBY for monthABOUT is stupid. Don't even pretend you're not speaking directly about me.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 AM on May 7, 2015


Jesus, we have exactly the attitude and behaviours being discussed on open display in this thread, and we're taking someone to task for having pointed it out because they didn't cite examples so we could have a rules-lawyer discussion on the legitimacy of the complaint? I mean, even if there weren't such an issue in general, the hostility with which the complaint was met is itself enough to merit the complaint.
posted by Dysk at 9:32 AM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm going to say even more plainly, that this shouldn't be a fight over fffm. Even if fffm is happy to have that fight. This is not about one person, even if people have gripes about that person, or if that person feels defensive about being griped-about.

Go ahead and discuss behaviors, that is just fine, but a fight over corb or fffm individually is going to totally derail the discussion of the proposal here. Please don't.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:39 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm really happy to not have that fight, actually. I'd be happier if my comments weren't mischaracterized.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:41 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am saying, this isn't about you. You've responded to Conspire, you've stated what your comments were about, now please leave it alone.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


At this point, the conversation has raised the standard for what would qualify as a "successful" LBGTQ theme month so high that I don't think it could be met. So I vote that we don't try.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2015


I have said that reiterating literally the exact same arguments--except, as I said, for your valid concerns about performing queerness--over people mistaking monthBY for monthABOUT is stupid.

Why, exactly, is that stupid? Those other threads were about other proposals. The fact that the same concerns may arise each time a special-interest/identity-specific monthly focus is proposed does not make raising these concerns "stupid." Perhaps the people raising these concerns now, were not active in discussion of July by Women. Why should the answers given, in response to certain objections to July by Women, somehow be binding or controlling in a discussion of a month for queer posters? I just don't understand why you characterize that as "stupid." That's quite rude and ugly of you to do that.

As has been painstakingly pointed out by the trans participants in this thread, there are different concerns, given their relatively minuscule percentages in the userbase compared to the percentage of women in the userbase. There are also special concerns given the unfamiliarity of the average user with trans issues, compared, say, to the average user's familiarity with women's issues.

So for you to dismiss raising ANY concerns as "stupid" because a similar concern was raised in discussion of JulyByWomen.... I can see how your attitude is upsetting and hurtful to people.
posted by jayder at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's the problem, Spathe Cadet. roomthreeseventeen hasn't suggested an 'LGBTQ theme month,' they have suggested a month the same as the #bywomen months. That is, not a month of queer-themed posts, a month where queer-identified members are encouraged to post more about whatever interests them (us).

As has been painstakingly pointed out by the trans participants in this thread, there are different concerns, given their relatively minuscule percentages in the userbase compared to the percentage of women in the userbase. There are also special concerns given the unfamiliarity of the average user with trans issues, compared, say, to the average user's familiarity with women's issues.

And as I and others have repeatedly tried to point out, this concern--while valid to have in a general sense--is coming from a basic misunderstanding of the entire point of these kinds of months. Again, it's not #monthABOUT, it's #monthBY. Nobody is even remotely suggesting this tag would only go on queer-themed posts. If anyone were, the objection would make sense in this context.

The objection makes sense and is perfectly valid in the larger context of trans people feeling they have to perform in a certain way in threads about trans issues, which has exactly nothing to do with this month proposal, because--again--the proposal is not for a month about queer (which includes trans; I am using 'queer' only as the most inclusive shorthand I know) issues.

Have a discussion about the general concerns trans people have about specifically trans issues on the site. Yes. Do that.

That's not what this proposal is about, though, any more than the #bywomen proposals were about women having to post about womens issues.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


(I knew it wasn't about LGBTQ themed posts, for whatever that's worth; I just couldn't come up with a concise way to say "a month where queer-identified members are encouraged to post more about whatever interests them.")
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:54 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel kind of weird even having to defend this - I thought this was an immutable rule of etiquette. Is this a new-generation thing?

So as a new-generation person, I did a wee bit of a double-take when I saw your comment about being "uncomfortable with trying to potentially out people." I didn't find it problematic, it just caused a moment's reflection. Because I do live my life in a social milieu where an acquaintance's sexual orientation is not a guarded secret. And so if I imagine a situation where Friend A outed me to a stranger and Friend B called them out on it — I might feel like Friend B's concern was misguided. I've taken a political stance that my sexuality is 100% normal and not something to hide. And being shy about outing me goes against that stance — like, why are you trying to hide my queerness, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Because this stance is so ingrained into my everyday life, and because I don't think about it much anymore, I tend to forget that it's something I've intentionally chosen and that my choice isn't right for other people in other contexts. So that's where the double-take came from.

And writing this out is making me realize that I've been talking about this only in terms of sexual orientation, not gender identity, and the original speculation was that roomthreeseventeen might be LGBTQ. Even in my progressive social circle, outing someone as trans without consent is a major faux pas. (And I don't think that was even remotely sciatrix's intent. It's just that while we're discussing the ethics of outing, it's worth remembering that those ethics are very different for queer people and trans people.)
posted by Banknote of the year at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


And as I and others have repeatedly tried to point out, this concern--while valid to have in a general sense--is coming from a basic misunderstanding of the entire point of these kinds of months. Again, it's not #monthABOUT, it's #monthBY. Nobody is even remotely suggesting this tag would only go on queer-themed posts. If anyone were, the objection would make sense in this context.

...and what's being constantly explained is that it isn't that simple, and we don't at all feel we need a so strictly defined #monthby because we're not generally discouraged from posting on account of our being queer, but we are discouraged from posting about queer topics. In that context, I - and others - feel that it would be operationally not only irrelevant to have a strictly defined #byLGBT month, but also impossible, and we've explored the dynamics and problems that create this context. It's not a misunderstanding, we simply do not see this as directly analogous to the JulyByWomen push, which has a different set of dynamics and context underpinning it.
posted by Dysk at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Again, it's not #monthABOUT, it's #monthBY. Nobody is even remotely suggesting this tag would only go on queer-themed posts. If anyone were, the objection would make sense in this context."

That's true, and I strongly think that the point that several people have made that just visibly being here (and being diverse while being here, which pushes against the box that the cishet expectations build) is arguably the most empowering part of this, it's also the case that part of being here is, for some people, going to be talking about queer stuff and, for some, specifically trans* stuff. And, for those, we'll have the issues that have been discussed. While it's not about the content, it's most certainly not about avoiding the content, either.

Anyway, I'm mostly commenting to say that while this thread is specifically about the proposal, my concerns and participation in the thread have been with how this also affects all such proposals, especially in the future. If we stipulate the point of somewhat equal representation on MeFi by women (a point that has merit, but which I don't feel is uncontestable), and therefore this proposal is different, it's the case that pretty much all such similar future proposals will be different in this way, too. And I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that the only diversity in voices that we can promote are ... ones where there's already (relatively) very high visibility. That seems backwards. But, still, the objections raised on this basis are very real and I think we have to find a way to mitigate those problems or abandon the whole project. The latter is, for me, a very bad outcome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:04 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


As has been mentioned above, by mediareport I think, seems to me like this is more about encouraging the people who aren't necessarily so comfortable with posting.

It's the closet/visibility discussion all over again. Showing fellow queer people who may or may not have posted before that queer people can indeed post about any damn thing they please and don't have to restrict ourselves to queer issues. That's why it's the same as the #bywomen months.

but we are discouraged from posting about queer topics

I get that. And if this were a proposal about posting more about queer topics, that would be relevant.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't really see the point of posting "as" an LGBTQ member if it's not also improving the value of the site content "for" LGBTQ folks. And posting content "for" LGBTQ folks can be problematic for all the reasons addressed above.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:20 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, I was going to do a post about flour milling in the late 19th - early 20th century, and how the transition from using a millstone/waterwheel configuration to using roller mills/turbine configuration dramatically changed our diet, our experience with breads, and how these changes affected small home farms, small towns and manufacturing in them. There's deeper aspects too, like how the decline in the need for water power changed the way we control water courses today, but I'm leaving that aside, it's a little esoteric.

I have lots of links all set to go with pictures of the machinery, some YouTube videos, and some cool sites about milling flour at home (you can do that now).

Which is on it's face pretty boring unless you're into that kind of thing (I am, apparently).

But now, I'd have to wonder if I would need to make it about queer flour mills, or the impact of stoneground flour on queer culture, or how the rise of the roller mill oppressed the old queer miller with his big queer millstones.

Which is to say, I'll just post it somewhere else.
posted by disclaimer at 10:22 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the project is to encourage queer people to post while at the same time the site remains hostile to queer people posting about queer issues, then it's a hollow gesture that creates a self-congratulatory pat on the back for the least marginalized while actively making things worse for the most marginalized, because it becomes something to point to and say MetaFilter has "solved" its LBGTQ issues because look, queer people are just like straight people!

The two issues are totally bound together.
posted by jaguar at 10:22 AM on May 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Or, what sevenyearlurk said.
posted by jaguar at 10:23 AM on May 7, 2015


Which is to say, I'll just post it somewhere else.

no please I actually really want to read your flour mill post now and would also like to see the esoteric stuff please do post it here.
posted by corb at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


I think the distinction between posting-as and posting-about misses the point. (Conversely, it could easily be me missing the point.)

Disclaimer gives the example of flour mills. A nice, objective topic, far removed from issues of queerness. But, would the presence of the tag affect the reading and reception, would the discussion head in a different direction than it would, had no queer identity been attached to the post? (Or if the same piece, as written, were instead presented for #MarxismMay, would that change the nature of the discussion?)

It seems clear that some folks see their identity heavily informing even posts that don't look queer-themed, and have concerns about that reception, and it's just as clear that that is a difficult thing to think about, if you don't spend a lot of time worrying about how people respond to your particular queer vernacular, or if you think your topics are free of your identity.

I mean, I want to hear more about this. We've established, written in stone, that this is a posting-as rather than a posting-about idea, and that's fine. But I want to hear more about specific concerns surrounding how posting-as might result in trouble no matter what the topic, and what mitigation might offer people comfort and support so they can (if they want to) post.
posted by mittens at 10:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would totally read that flour milling post. It sound really fascinating. (/urban planning and history nerd) And, in spite of being accused of not being non-hetero enough to share my point of view in this thread, my experiences elsewhere suggest that you really should just make it about flour milling and not about queer flour milling and go ahead and use whatever hashtag gets agreed upon for #monthBY.

One of the problems that minorities have is that they often can't bring up their minority trait in a public forum without it being focused upon excessively in a problematic way. I like the idea of a #monthBY because it is a slick antidote to that problem. You get to be openly (minority trait) without it specifically disrupting the conversation and having all eyes go to that issue and having to face all kinds of terrible, invasive questions about private matters that you shouldn't have to reply to if you don't want to. So that's why I think it's brilliant and I think that is part of what made the previous efforts work so well.

Also, if this is going to become A Thing that we do rotating months of #monthBY for various groups, maybe in addition to the extra tag about monthbywomen, we should go back and add #monthBY to the two previous months and also make that a standard part of any monthBY, regardless of which group is getting the spotlight. That would make it easier to dig up these diversity initiatives. Having an explicit monthBY tag might also help communicate the general intent that it is absolutely not monthABOUT and help shorten that part of the argument for any future MeTas for other diversity initiatives.
posted by Michele in California at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seconding jaguar and sevenyearlurk.

I don't fall under quiltbag, or really, heavily discriminated against at all in modern society. It feels as though "outing" of a potentially-discriminated orientation heavily depends on the social and personal understanding, and that although MeFi is a decent place with mods that try to listen, it is still part of the internet, and it's much easier to generate bigoted feedback. Being asked to perform in a community, being shamed for not being proudly x enough, and being tasked with correcting assumptions is a personal/individualistic issue that disproportionately affects non-heteronormative orientations, some more than others. It would be nice to acknowledge and address it that way.

I'm sort of worried now about the tag, because of the dismissive feedback people have received for their concerns. And this is concern aware of the environment and privilege people have. There's a hint of taking personal feelings as fighting words, and thus #notallgays, that I may be making up. Again, not quiltbag.
posted by halifix at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that the only diversity in voices that we can promote are ... ones where there's already (relatively) very high visibility.

If the project is to encourage queer people to post while at the same time the site remains hostile to queer people posting about queer issues, then it's a hollow gesture that creates a self-congratulatory pat on the back for the least marginalized while actively making things worse for the most marginalized, because it becomes something to point to and say MetaFilter has "solved" its LBGTQ issues because look, queer people are just like straight people!


These two comments are important, and get to the core of the issue. Unless we explicitly find a way to boost trans, intersectional, and otherwise less visible queer voices by making Metafilter a more comfortable space for people to speak up, we'll end up disproportionately promoting queer identities that already have the most visibility on the site. Just plopping out "all LGBT people can make posts" is less of a neutral statement than it appears - it favors those who are already more comfortable with having a full presence on the site than not, partially due to being able to align better with the established status quo on the site. For me to talk about my own experiences holistically, I have to not only declare my queer identity, but my racialized identity and my disabled identity simultaneously as they all intersectionally inform my queer identity - and that poses more barriers to my participation here than someone who would just have to challenge homophobia. I get the sense that trans members feel similarly in the degree of the barriers they have to break through to participate here. This is something that doesn't just inform discussion on queer topics, but participation in general - a place where I have to be closeted about aspects of my identity isn't really a place where I can participate fully.

So I think it's necessary to address the disproportionate barriers that some queer people face in their participation as part this month if our goal is to promote visibility of marginalized voices. If we don't for this initiative, I'm also fine with that because I think LGBTQ voices are underheard in general, but I don't want to make any false pretenses about this month being fully and equally open to "everyone" within the queer umbrella when it really isn't.
posted by Conspire at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


If nothing else, this thread has inspired me--a very occasional queer poster--to make an FPP about something super (if superficially) gay. Enjoy, dammit!
posted by psoas at 11:05 AM on May 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


So visibility is wonderful. All the trans people I know have rich and varied interests that aren't related to their trans status, and it would be great to showcase range of interests that on MeFi. Absolutely. There's a huge potential benefit here.

However: Even if many of the posts that the theme inspires are about kittens, geology, fencing, or whatever, it seems likely that more people will post on queer and trans issues. Not because people have to, but because it's a natural result of an LGBT theme. And given that, historically, trans-related threads have caused extra emotional work for trans MeFites, then an uptick in trans threads will place more burden on them. There's also a cost to this theme month.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable with this theme month if our community had a realistic plan in place to acknowledge and address that cost. Earlier, corb said that one of the things that made JulyByWomen work for her was that the community had recently gone through a MeTa that clarified some of the sexist issues that recur and as a result people made a concerted effort to flag more, and to communicate with the mods more. How can we make a similar effort to improve trans discussions on the site, in order to make an LGBT theme month fun for trans people? And some of the burden of speaking up will need to fall on us cis MeFites, because of the aforementioned small size of the trans community here.

For example, one of the things that's kept me from being the ally I'd like to be on the site is the fine line between relieving trans people of the burden of having to always speak to trans issues, and speaking for trans people in a way that sidelines them in a conversation. I know enough trans stuff to handle some of the exhausting-but-well-meaning comments, but trans people can respond more authentically. And it's not clear when to help by stepping in, and when to help by stepping aside.

My point isn't to hold off on posts-by-LGBT-folk month until we get this 100% perfect — of course our first try is going to be a learning experience in terms of what works and what doesn't. But let's prep first.
posted by Banknote of the year at 11:17 AM on May 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


And my comment is kind of framed in a way that implies that trans people are the only ones under the LGBT umbrella who face emotional labour for their participation here. Of course they're not, as Conspire points out. I didn't intend to imply that they were.
posted by Banknote of the year at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


fffm: I have only just now realized that I mis-read one of your earlier comments. I missed the "not" in your comment here, which is why I was so curt in this response. I'm sorry for misreading you there.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:54 AM on May 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thank you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:39 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wish I had a thousand favorites for Conspire's posts here, which manage to eloquently summarize a gajillion of the issues with intersectionality in the LGBTQ community, which tends to have white middle-class gay men as its poster children at the expense of everyone else. Metafilter occasionally has the same issues as the rest of the world there; since I'm somewhat privilege-blinded on trans stuff I don't notice that as much (though I'm trying to figure that out better) but I see it in other areas (including intersectional, not-just-about-rainbow-folks-but-including-us stuff) pretty regularly, and it can range from eye-rolling to alienating.
posted by NoraReed at 1:12 PM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


>I'd be reacting very differently to this post if it was framed as "Hey, fellow queer Mefites, what if we did a theme month?"

But that is, actually, exactly how this post was framed.


No, it's not and I'm kind of fed up with people acting as if I'm stupid because I dare disagree with them.
posted by hoyland at 5:03 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


But we're in the thread we're talking about. We can just look at the post at the top of the thread. It's only a single sentence.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Right, I'm saying there's a difference between making this proposal explicitly as a queer person speaking to other queer people and a generic Mefite speaking to queer people.
posted by hoyland at 5:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Conspire's last post really summarizes the issue for me. Some people love the idea of #RainbowJune, so fine, we can do it, but I have to say that as a trans man or an intersex guy, I don't feel held back from posting nonqueer things as some women made clear they felt about posting generally, because of the social tendency to devalue women's voices. But I do feel held back from posting on topics that I'm particularly knowledgeable about as an intersex trans man--and that's something I'd really love not to be the case.

The irony of this thread is that I don't feel more encouraged to post about sex and gender variance, because I know these issues are handled less well here. And seeing some people comment that they were concerned because their participation in related threads had been disrespected and their objections dismissed--and then watching those comments get treated dismissively and called dumb by MeFites I consider allies was not heartening.

No meta-community, be it people with disabilities or people of color or sex/gender/sexual minorities, is monolithic. Every meta-community has people who are more centered and more marginalized, and has to work through intracommunity tensions and misunderstandings, and good conversations about that meta-community are cognizant of that. The thing about the LGBTQIAPKA+++ meta-community is that it has accreted rapidly and contentiously around what is considered its core--same-sex-attracted people. And there's just plain and simple been a lot of lateral violence involved in the struggle to gain social respect, as well as social and material violence directed at us from the outside by cis/straight/monogamist/ etc. people.

And this means that we can have at the same time on MeFi in this very thread, people who assert that this site is totally queer-friendly and that only newbies are unaware of that, and people who have experienced and still experience threads here as deeply alienating, painful and exhausting. This is how we can have people posting that they are wary that #RainbowJuly would mean a stressful education burden, and other queer folk saying, "Look, whatever, just post about cats."

Personally, I can say that I am pansexual and I am intersex and I am trans. All of these things "count" for inclusion under the queer umbrella. But the education burden I experience related to my sexual orientation today is minuscule compared to the education burden I deal with regarding my sex and gender. And the burden I bear is tiny compared to my trans woman spouse's. The number of times perfect strangers see fit to ask her about her genitalia is appalling, and it goes on day after day, and it's not like she can decide that today she doesn't feel like disclosing her gender identity. It's not some button she wears, there's no coming out. People see that she is trans, and that means her daily life is full of transphobia and with people demanding she explain herself to them.

And the thing is, I do understand and agree that if people aren't educated, and if we don't bring up post-101 level topics, the situation isn't going to improve by itself. But it's a real and painful struggle, especially for those most marginalized. And I too would like best if we acknowledged this fact.
posted by DrMew at 5:34 PM on May 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


hoyland, I am sorry for the response you are getting. I wrestled with whether or not to say something similar to the point Justinian has made, but I felt that was the wrong way to handle it. I have spent some time going through your posts and my best grasp is that you are concerned about the way this is being tied to Pride month and also about this coming across as a burden for the queer community to educate other people.

I really don't think this is something that should be viewed as an obligation to do heavy lifting, but an opportunity to be more visible for those who feel like participating. So, to my mind, that leaves the question of whether or not tying it to Pride month is problematic.

On preview of your latest comment, I have gone through the OP's posts and the OP self-identifies as queer, but doesn't seem to say it much. So it seems to me that part of the problem here in this very discussion is that it isn't obvious to people who identifies as queer. To my mind, that suggests that a monthBY is a good idea from the point of view of making it more obvious who is who, for those who wish to be known that way.
posted by Michele in California at 5:37 PM on May 7, 2015


Michele in California, I think it's not a good idea to to disclose someone's personal information by combing through past posting history in order to make a rhetorical point, especially if there is a noted preference for that person choosing to discuss certain things selectively.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:24 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


So it seems to me that part of the problem here in this very discussion is that it isn't obvious to people who identifies as queer.

That's not a bug, it's a feature.

People on this site make a clear choice about what to disclose about themselves, and there is no requirement that anyone clearly state anything about themselves - be it gender or sexual identity or ethnicity or nationality or something else - before they participate in any way on this site.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, now that everything's all settled here, is it time to start discussing #Jew-ly?
posted by neroli at 8:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I completely disagree. In the context of a community initiative among a minority group, I absolutely think it's important that people participating in that conversation make it clear how they identify and what their experiences are. No one's making you come in and talk about your queer experience and your feelings on RainbowJune, but if you do want to be a part of that conversation, your identity with respect to sexuality and gender is pretty important background to the people trying to have that conversation with you.

I don't know if roomthreeseventeen would like to comment, but I seriously think this would have been better received if they had explicitly marked themselves as queer or a specific non-straight/cis identity in the same breath as suggesting the topic. It casts a very different tone from a straight/cis poster making the same proposal, and I rather suspect that the reactions of different community members were heavily influenced by whether they read roomthreeseventeen as "in-group" or "out-group."

With respect to specific things the queer community on this site can do better: if I was to post a FPP myself now, would it be helpful for me to comment in it and immediately nudge people I was irritated with and try to direct the course of the thread? I have avoided doing so now in my existing queer fpps because I mostly don't like to steer discussion unless I think a fight is breaking out or my specific perspective is necessary, but I can do that more in the future. Would it help to instead look out for shitty things happening in other people's threads and try to be more vocal about backing people up? If we get the month rolling, I think I could devote energy to one or the other, probably not both--what do people think about that?

Do we think the mods would be willing to gently step in if queer posters were flagging something as derailing? Should I flag more for things like that? One of the things that came out of WomensMarch was an understanding that yes, I need to flag for comments that piss me off or which are not leading to a good discussion. Should I start raising my expectations here for queer stuff?

I have a lot of questions. I am heartened by those allies who have politely refrained from centering the discussion around themselves after thread member requested them to do so, but I think that tendency is just as pronounced among cis/straight people on metafilter in queer topics as it is among men in sexism/female-centered topics. It is also just as irritating. I would like allies reading this discussion to think about that and reflect on it, maybe.
posted by sciatrix at 8:11 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always understood the situation to be that any personal information revealed on someone's profile was not to be disclosed by members on the blue, or grey, or anywhere else site-wide.

Perhaps a mod can come into the thread and comment on this. Here's a link to a comment discussing this issue (that I found in the FAQ).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:33 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always understood the situation to be that any personal information revealed on someone's profile was not to be disclosed by members on the blue, or grey, or anywhere else site-wide.

Profile information, definitely not. Previous comments are not quite so restricted, although it's often bad rhetoric and worse manners.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:34 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


On preview of your latest comment, I have gone through the OP's posts and the OP self-identifies as queer, but doesn't seem to say it much.

Well I mean I was just going though the guy's laundry hamper and...
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:48 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


....is it time to start discussing #Jew-ly?

Hell no.
posted by zarq at 9:38 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


"All of these things "count" for inclusion under the queer umbrella. But the education burden I experience related to my sexual orientation today is minuscule compared to the education burden I deal with regarding my sex and gender. And the burden I bear is tiny compared to my trans woman spouse's. "

I do wonder how much of the push-back comes from the "umbrella" nature of LGBTQIA, especially as many people who identify by one of those identities have become more "mainstream." I think you could make a serious claim that a lot of people in the LGB communities are not "queers" in so much as a queer theory lens is not how they experience their identity at all. I do think that there are many more GSM folks on MeFi who come at these discussions explicitly from the background of queer theory (an analogy might be that MeFi has a higher proportion of women who identify as feminists than the general population, and that affects gender discussions here). In a lot of ways, "LGBT" seems to me (from the outside) much more of an out-group constructed identity than an in-group one, especially as queer theory informs less and less of the mainstream discourse on GSM.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Hell no."

When I saw that, I chuckled and was going to post, "Countdown to zarq saying 'Hell no.'"
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to acknowledge that for every group that might have a #monthby it is reasonable to expect, and valid to have, a discussion about the specific concerns of the group in question and how they are different from the concerns of other groups, because people are treated differently and have different lived experiences. This is true even within very similar groups, nevermind within larger groups with more variation.

I also feel the need to speak up as the second #monthby OP to point out that one advantage the women on MetaFilter may have had - in addition to nominally being half the population - is that a good deal of us are privileged along other axes. The paragraph I agonized over the most in my OP was the one where I specifically named women typically marginalized within the larger context of women - mostly because I am privileged relative to all of them, and the history of white women neglecting / demanding unpaid extra work / mistreating women disadvantaged along multiple axes is extensive and contemporary. My memory may be excluding someone, and if so I apologize, but I don't remember there being a lot of women disadvantaged along multiple axes speaking up about how racism, ableism, homophobia, or transphobia might affect their desire to post (I think classism might have come up?) - and I personally maintain the belief that there may well have been women who felt discomfort about extra-sexism discrimination and did not feel comfortable speaking up about it.

Given this, I am very uncomfortable with #monthbywomen being held up as an example of How It Should Be Done which QUILTBAG / LGBTQA people are somehow falling short of by being all complicated and expressing their concerns. I believe that the lack of intersectionality in the #monthbywomen discussions is more an indication that woman on MetaFilter is dominated by women who are otherwise privileged, rather than indicating women on MetaFilter have somehow solved inter-group discrimination.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


I get that. And if this were a proposal about posting more about queer topics, that would be relevant.

You reiterating that again and again still doesn't make the point that a queer monthBY is inextricably tied up with the issue for reasons extensively explained (and ignored) above.
posted by Dysk at 2:07 AM on May 8, 2015


What is this, the 1950s? Where the mere implication that someone is gay is enough to destroy them?

Even in the 2010's, the knowledge that someone is gay can potentially invite discrimination, harassment or worse from bigots, yes?


I think it's important to realize that even in the 2010s, being outed as gay or trans can lead to being fired with no recourse in a lot of states in the US. ENDA remains a mere dream, and in the 25 years that I've been an out queer, I've known more than a couple handfuls of handfuls of men who have been fired because they became publicly known as gay or trans. (None of those were men who came out of their own accord.)
posted by hippybear at 3:43 AM on May 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


You reiterating that again and again still doesn't make the point that a queer monthBY is inextricably tied up with the issue for reasons extensively explained (and ignored) above.

...go away. It doesn't make it go away. (Up all night watching election results roll in, not at my most coherent it seems)
posted by Dysk at 4:36 AM on May 8, 2015


In a lot of ways, "LGBT" seems to me (from the outside) much more of an out-group constructed identity than an in-group one, especially as queer theory informs less and less of the mainstream discourse on GSM.

FWIW, I tend to read 'LGBT' when referring to an individual as out-group unless it's somehow marked as in-group.* Up above, I made a distinction between 'LGBT' posts and 'queer' posts, with the difference being that former are (consciously?) not too challenging to straight people.

*Organisations/groups usually have some need to be not too challenging to straight people, so I don't read a whole lot into them talking about LGBT people/communities. But if an organisation uses 'queer', it tells you a lot. (Of course, 'LGBT' is the compromise term when you're trying to be conscious of not everyone agreeing 'queer' is reclaimed, but, if that's driving the usage, it's probably going to be marked as in-group anyway.)
posted by hoyland at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I don't understand the point of posting about queer politics to a discussion forum where most readers are cishet if those readers both aren't allowed to disagree, and also aren't allowed to say "oh cool! I learned something!". Are they even allowed to read it?

I also don't especially appreciate the notion that otherwise-queer people such as myself who don't experience the world "through the lens of queer theory" should get stripped of the "queer" label.

And with regards to the notion that we all need to explicitly spell out how we identify to engage in the conversation here, we've now turned what was supposed to be a lightweight visibility effort via optional post-tagging into mandatory visibility via credentials-stating!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [31 favorites]


Ha, fair enough! *throws hands up into the air* Yeah, Blue Jello Elf, it's all a huge mess. If anything, I find inter-LGBTQ/queer/QUILTBAG/GSM/DSG/alphabet soup politicking to be more tense and more likely to result in hurt feelings than inter-feminism/womanism politicking, and I think that history of tension between different identities makes these conversations so much harder to have without making someone frustrated and hurt. That absolutely does not mean that I don't think they're worth having, but it's worth asking if we can also try to keep in mind that posters here might have a clue with respect to history/politics/etc. and try to make Metafilter feel more like a conversation between people who know the other one is engaging in good faith and less like a conversation full of strangers or worse, people who need educating.

I'm at the point where I'm taking the reservations of posters who don't want to deal with these discussions/find them exhausting into account, but losing the ability to figure out what anyone wants to do about it. That said, this whole conversation has really strengthened my desire to do this thing and see who stands up and who posts. Can we talk about fun stuff for a bit now? Or are there new reservations to express?
posted by sciatrix at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I've never posted on the Blue before (although I'm quite active on the Green). When this thread started, I was super excited about creating my first post and had already started pulling some links together. Now, it's a lot more daunting because there seems to be so much more scrutiny involved.
posted by mochapickle at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Fwiw, I don't think a significant percentage of users read MetaTalk.
posted by odinsdream at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fuck it. Posting is not scary, I promise--well, okay, it is the first time, but it's actually a lot of fun. (And I would never have gotten so much practice at it without WomensMarch, either.) Let me know if you'd like advice and/or cheering via MeMail for your planned FPPs.

What were you thinking about posting on, mochapickle?
posted by sciatrix at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2015


I guess I don't understand the point of posting about queer politics to a discussion forum where most readers are cishet if those readers both aren't allowed to disagree, and also aren't allowed to say "oh cool! I learned something!". Are they even allowed to read it?

I think there's a huge difference between me articulating my feelings of tokenization, emotional fatigue at having to deal with the same 101 derails, and isolation, and saying that cishet people "aren't allowed" to do certain things. For one, I don't think I actually have any power to enforce any changes, and I'm not optimistic about cishet people, as a whole, recognizing that they're making a systematic negative impact on some queer people based on their commenting patterns and willing altering that. So perhaps you're right, queer topics don't really belong here.

I also don't especially appreciate the notion that otherwise-queer people such as myself who don't experience the world "through the lens of queer theory" should get stripped of the "queer" label.

Again and tied to the last point, I think there's a huge difference between stating that the term "queer" is quickly becoming something that's absorbed into the mainstream rather than a marker of a certain political outlook. I hesitate to associate these identities with "queer theory" because it implies that we're ivory tower academics in contrast to "normal people" - rather, I think many of the people who originally gravitated to a "queer" identifier as a means of resisting the status quo did so because these terms, politics, ideas and communities represented them where nothing else did. I have never taken a single queer theory class or read a single textbook in my life. Everything I've learned has been a result of me being pushed into communities at the fringe as a result of having a visibly queer racialized disabled body that simply was accepted nowhere else. So I lament the assimilation of a "queer" identity into a mainstream marker. Not only do I now again lack words to describe myself, as someone who is continuously pushed into a fringe, but the ideas associated with "queerness" are being co-opted and assimilated until they've lose their pushback against the status quo that harms the most marginalized people in the first place. Stonewall was started by trans women of color. Pride parades were started by a bisexual woman. Now, both squarely belong to cis white gay men.

No one is telling you that you cannot use the word "queer" to describe yourself. People are stating that as a system, the absorption of queer by a mainstream is marginalizing us and erasing our history and diversity. Again, I have no power to stop you from calling yourself queer, and no desire to personally implicate you - when it is not you, in isolation, but you, as part of a systematic move towards the assimilation of the word "queer".

Overall, I'm exhausted. I'm happy to see this tag go on, and I'll support it from the sidelines, but I personally will not be participating, because in the way its replicated these dynamics within the queer communities without challenging them, I see no space for me in it.
posted by Conspire at 10:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


I hope it does happen.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2015


mochapickle: For what it's worth, I've never posted on the Blue before (although I'm quite active on the Green). When this thread started, I was super excited about creating my first post and had already started pulling some links together. Now, it's a lot more daunting because there seems to be so much more scrutiny involved.

May I offer some friendly advice about posting to you and other folks purely from my perspective as a very frequent poster? It's advice that is completely irrelevant to your (or anyone else's identity).

Post the things you would like to encounter if you clicked on a link as a metafilter visitor. Post things that interest you and that you would like to share with the group. Post because it's really more fun than you might think.

Posting and commenting here is entirely voluntary. No one is demanding or requiring your participation. You don't need to respond to trolls. And threads are open for 30 days, so you have lots of time to respond to people. If you want to post, do. If you want to talk about the content in the thread, do. If not, don't. It's entirely your choice. This may seem obvious, but it's sometimes worth keeping in mind.

Don't worry about how they're going to be received by the community. I suspect less that 1% of posts that are made to metafilter stir up any kind of argument or controversy. It's extremely likely that yours won't either.

Don't worry about how many links your post has. Or how long it is. Or if it doesn't say absolutely everything you want to say. My own posts have ranged from a couple of words to thousands of characters. From a single link to over a hundred. The comments are open if I happened to forget anything.

Favorites and Comment counts are a meaningless metric. Don't worry about how much attention your post gets in terms of favorites or comments. Some of my own favorite FPPs have less than 10 comments. Lots of posts I really liked creating have less than 12 favorites. Sometimes you'll find people who love what you've posted and sometimes not. Some topics attract fewer favorites and comments, but the discussions tend to be deep (like posts about art.)

Don't post because you want to make a point or because you're trying to encourage readers to do something.

No one is going to make you pass a "Queer-enough" litmus test, either. If you want to use a tag, that's your prerogative. If you want to post about a topic or not, that's your choice.

Once you create the post, it's out of your hands. Now, it's community property. We get to decide if they like it or not. But do you know what happens if people really, really, really(!) hate what you've posted? Or if it gets deleted? You get to try again tomorrow. A complete and total do-over. And even challenging posts that don't get deleted simply fade off the front page in just 24 hours. A momentary blip, and then they're forgotten.

Looking for content to post? Have some links!

Use your built-in support system. The mods will review posts for you and offer posting and framing advice. So will many veteran mefites.
posted by zarq at 11:13 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Fwiw, I don't think a significant percentage of users read MetaTalk.

2%, I think.
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2015


I apologize for the faux pas. I don't readily see a better solution in this specific situation. I will think on it for future reference.

Most of my romantic relationships from age 11 to 16 were with girls. When I had psychological testing in my twenties, my therapist informed me that I tested high for bisexual traits. So 5 years of girlfriends and psychological testing both seem to suggest I am not really hetero. It isn't something I feel a need to spotlight, but it also isn't some secret.

I get that this is a sensitive topic, but I and the OP and possibly others here have gotten ugly pushback from folks who were assuming we are not in-group status and who didn't ask or even bother to look up remarks we have chosen of our own volition to make on the public record (you can go through my comment history and find that I self identify as "not really straight" from time to time -- and I said it in this discussion as well, which was pretty explicitly ignored). I really don't know a good solution to that since lecturing people expressing their fears and concerns that they are the ones who are being jerks is never a means to calm things down and build bridges or assure them that they will get treated decently if this initiative goes through.

On the one hand, if I had been more explicit about that to begin with (and not more subtly mentioned that I am not really straight), perhaps this would have gone better. But, on the other hand, if you are really going to apply the stated standard here, then I should have never been told that I am not queer enough to give my opinion in this thread and my personal experiences are irrelevant to this discussion and people should have, in theory, also given a more charitable reading to the OP. And, well, that isn't how it went down and no mod stepped in sooner to defend the folks who were not being very upfront and explicit about their own orientation and were being dismissed or having their motives questioned because of it.

So it looks like a crappy situation all the way around here.
posted by Michele in California at 11:43 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a proportion of the active userbase (i.e. folks who have been around while logged in at least a tiny bit in the last month), it's a lot higher than that, though still less than either Ask or Mefi by a good stretch. The numbers I ran in 2009 put the Metatalk-visiting portion of the active userbase at about 47%, though the number of users who visit metatalk daily or actively read each thread is presumably a lot lower (as is the number of users who do any other kind of high-engagement type of activity on the site).

Neither here nor there, just want to be clear that the conception that Metatalk is functionally invisible isn't really accurate. How effective a given metatalk thread will be at broadly changing site awareness or visibility of an issue is another and probably more pertinent question as far as having realistic expectations about the outcome of a discussion here, though, and I think that's what people tend more to be talking about when they spitball numbers, so I kind of get the motivation to bring it up in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:43 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Since we're having a little 201-level conversation in this thread. . . Conspire, I'm with ya on a bunch of things, but when it comes to a yearning to control the correct or best definition of "queerness," I think that ship has well and truly sailed. Around my local community, events are announced regularly as being for "queer and trans" people, reflecting the fact that tons of people are using the word "queer" to mean "LGB," and implying nothing whatsoever about politics--transgressive, assimilationist, or what have you. People use the term queer in this way and in others, and mean different things when identifying with it, and personally, I am not going to get into a battle over who is using it "correctly," because the hurt feelings generated are not worth it to me.

I have just been through so many changing-terminology battles in my life, since joining my first "gay youth" group in 1979. Terms are constantly being revised due to a variety of dynamics. Community labels are discarded because they've been tarnished by bigotry, and new shiny names coined to sound more respectable. In the reverse direction, terms that once denoted radicalism are accepted by the mainstream and lose their oppositional punch, and so get replaced. And generations of sex/gender/sexual minorities often to come of age by rejecting the terminology of the elder generation in favor of a new term that they believe will change everything, disdaining those in the elder generation who resist adopting the new term. And then some years pass, and a younger generation comes up using terms differently, and suddenly the tables are turned.

So personally, I mostly limit my fighting about terminology to that imposed on us by others, or against privileged people who refuse to accept that there is a term for people like them, other than "normal."
posted by DrMew at 11:44 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


The numbers I ran in 2009 put the Metatalk-visiting portion of the active userbase at about 47%, though the number of users who visit metatalk daily or actively read each thread is presumably a lot lower (as is the number of users who do any other kind of high-engagement type of activity on the site).

Oh wow, really? I was WAY off!
posted by zarq at 11:57 AM on May 8, 2015


So personally, I mostly limit my fighting about terminology to that imposed on us by others, or against privileged people who refuse to accept that there is a term for people like them, other than "normal."

I'm absolutely not fighting about terminology here or trying to hold onto the word queer - I agree with your discussion of why the term turns over - but I think the phenomenon serves as a good way to frame the issue that queer people who gain increasing acceptance will throw their more marginalized peers under the bus, time after time after time, in interactions both macro and micro. My post is not necessarily intended to resist this, but serve as an announcement of the sheer levels of helplessness and reluctant acceptance that this will happen almost unevitably.
posted by Conspire at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


For what it is worth, I have watched new terms pop up, spread to widespread use within my community, and then get rejected and thrown out on a time span of a few years. I am therefore not particularly attached to individual words and do a lot of ranting about concepts being more important than labels or words. So I don't really care that much about arguing about what "queer" should mean.

In my idiolect, "queer" totally involves trans* people but not necessarily people involved in directly questioning the heterosexist status quo unless we are specifically talking about queer theory. YMMV, but that's how I have experienced the term being used in my personal social network of early to midtwentysomethings.
posted by sciatrix at 12:00 PM on May 8, 2015


Also, just to elaborate on this a little, further to what restless_nomad said about it yesterday:

I always understood the situation to be that any personal information revealed on someone's profile was not to be disclosed by members on the blue, or grey, or anywhere else site-wide.

Not definitively porting profile-only information about someone into a thread as a "user x is y/lives in z/is on twitter as q/has real name d.b." disclosure is the bright line we try to draw—that's for any given user to choose to disclose or not disclose in a publicly indexed discussion and we ask people to respect that boundary and not unilaterally make that choice for another person.

Talking about what someone has talked or posted about in the publicly indexed parts of the site doesn't have the same bright line concern; it can be done badly, but it's not inherently against site guidelines, so it's much more of a judgement call thing, both at a user-deciding-to-do-it level and a mod-intervening level. It's the sort of thing that is more likely to end up as a point of discussion than nuked outright, but for all that it can be weird and not great. Even when it's well-meaning it can still put someone on the spot by aggregating ideas in one place in a way they hadn't chosen to do themselves.

So I think analyzing what someone has previously posted or said in comments to try and figure out where they're coming from with a current post or comment, in the spirit of defending that person's intentions or motivations, is just about the most complicated test case likely to arise for this sort of thing. There's zero ill intention, and no surfacing of otherwise-unindexed stuff, but it's still sort of volunteering information about them on their behalf. When it's a question of something that's potentially sensitive identity/identifying info, that's even trickier, especially when it's something that is classically considered someone's own choice about whether and when and how and to whom to disclose. It seems like a route usually better avoided.

Probably instead the good bet in a case like that is to contact the user directly with your concern about them being misunderstood or misrepresented and let them take action in if and how they like; if you want to defend them by proxy in a discussion, probably better to acknowledge more generally the known unknowns—that e.g. they haven't said anything contradictory or generally definitive about the point of concern in the current discussion—and try to collectively move on from worrying over those personal details in either direction in absentia.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


probably better to acknowledge more generally the known unknowns—that e.g. they haven't said anything contradictory or generally definitive about the point of concern in the current discussion—and try to collectively move on from worrying over those personal details in either direction in absentia

That's a really good point, and I will try to keep it in mind for the future, but I still don't see how that reassures hoyland, who was already feeling dismissed and called stupid, that, no, really, you have misread the framing here and we aren't simply being disrespectful assholes to point out that you are in error. We are, in fact, trying to reassure you that while your fears are not crazytalk, in this specific case, your assumption is in error and you can trust that the OP doesn't have the nefarious motives you fear them having because they aren't what you assumed them to be.

Sometimes these ever so politically correct answers don't actually address the issue of trust. On a sensitive topic like this one, trust is an important detail that does need to get hashed out. And if we aren't willing to do that, then Conspire and hoyland are absolutely correct and the tag should be nuked from orbit and the idea put on ice until the community can find a path forward for proving to the queer members that this is a respectful thing to do with positive motives that we earnestly believe will have a net positive impact on the relationship between queer members and the community as a whole and, no, we aren't just pimping you out to our fantasies that we are good and inclusive folks and look at all our tokens proving to ourselves our positive self-talk about our wonderfulness, yay!

Anyway, I'm not at my best today for reasons unrelated to the site and I am still feeling mistreated in this MeTa myself and grumpy about it, so I plan to try to give it a rest for a bit.

Carry on.
posted by Michele in California at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm still reading/skimming this ginormous thread, but I wanted to add that I am also a little bit uncomfortable with the idea. At this point, even just explaining that seeing trans posts actually stresses me out is something I don't really want to invest any energy in, so it's a good thing that hoyland and Conspire already wrote about that more eloquently than I could.
posted by byanyothername at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I also don't especially appreciate the notion that otherwise-queer people such as myself who don't experience the world "through the lens of queer theory" should get stripped of the "queer" label. "

I'm sorry for being so unclear as to have you take it that way. I'm not trying to strip you of queer identity. I do think that the political identity of "queer" is very different than the political identity of "LGBT" or "gay," and I think there's a long legacy of explicitly connecting queer identity to radical and revolutionary politics. From working for an explicitly LGBT advocacy organization until recently (one that touted being the first to endorse Hillary Clinton — before she declared, even — as a serious accomplishment), I know that there are many power players within the LGBT equality movement that explicitly reject the aims and framing of queerness as it has been historically understood, and I think that has a real effect on how intra-GSM issues are both prioritized and implemented. I think that's also related to a presumed cohesion within GSM in seeing "LGBT" as one community instead of many, and I know from my work that it has real effects on things like the availability of health resources for less visible communities under the GSM umbrella, e.g. trans people and bisexual people disproportionately receiving fewer resources than their population prevalence and need would imply, even within the LGBT communities.

From reading this discussion, it seemed like a fair amount of the pushback was coming from members who are arguing from a more radical, queer-theory informed position (e.g. Conspire, Dysk). I don't want to speak for them, but I'd guess that is connected to a long tradition of constructing a queer identity that holds inherent the challenging of cishet norms, something that would be in tension with the idea of a #JunebyLGBT. It would also be something that wouldn't be readily apparent to people who do not view the queer identity as having that implicit charge.
posted by klangklangston at 1:54 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


With respect to specific things the queer community on this site can do better: if I was to post a FPP myself now, would it be helpful for me to comment in it and immediately nudge people I was irritated with and try to direct the course of the thread? I have avoided doing so now in my existing queer fpps because I mostly don't like to steer discussion [...] Do we think the mods would be willing to gently step in if queer posters were flagging something as derailing? Should I flag more for things like that?
-sciatrix

Quickly addressing this: No, please don't steer your own threads - that's "threadsitting," something we ask people not to do and will sometimes delete. Once you post, the thread isn't yours; everybody has an equal license to comment there and discuss what they find interesting about the post.

You're right about what you can do moderation-wise:

-Flag things you think we should see or delete. Things won't always get deleted, but you'll draw our attention to the thread for emerging problems.

-Use the contact form to drop us a note if it's not clear what the problem is with the comment, or especially a pattern of comments (e.g. "we've been over this derail three times now") or behavior from a particular member. It's easy for us to miss longer-term trends like that because we change shifts etc. Also, don't worry - the contact form is never a bother for us, it's never a big deal, so people should not be intimidated about using it.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:02 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've avoided participating in this thread after making my one unhelpful comment, but I just wanted to check in about something:

I'm wondering if any LGBTQ mefites think it would be helpful to have one of the goals of the JunebyLGBTQ month be for mefites as a whole to be more mindful of behaviors that contribute to making LGBTQ mefites feel less comfortable engaging with the site? For example, based on concerns raised in this thread, it seems like these are some things that allies should make an effort to avoid doing:

>I get that people are exploring and learning about these issues, but the ratio of straight-cis to queer voices on here is so high that I feel like any chance to explore nuance is drowned out - especially when straight-cis "allies" take it upon themselves to actively attack any perspectives that don't align with their narrow understanding of allyship.

>a deluge of straight-cis people rather queer people speaking for themselves, and that's one of the dynamics here that I'm referencing as an issue even if all of these straight-cis people are well-meaning.

>Personally, I'd like to see a lot less of "I'm cis but thank you so much for educating me and you all have been so valuable to my self development" and "I'm straight but I just wanted to say go gay people!"

>I think it would be really good for this discussion if people who don't identify as LGBTQ -- the collection of folks that this thread is specifically about -- don't try to compare their own experiences to what it must be like to be LGBTQ.

>I want the comments to any FPP to be an interesting discussion, and for trans posts that means not having to trans 101 again and again or having to find a tactful way to say "It's great that you want to be an ally, but you're going about it all wrong" or endless comments about "Thank you for educating me" or "I'm so happy things are getting better for trans people"

>In particular, I remember there was an FPP here a couple of years ago focusing on gay men and HIV stigma, in which Conspire was repeatedly told to stop using words like "serosorting" -- on the grounds that using terms like that on a generalist website must be a deliberate attempt to confuse, intimidate, and exclude other people from the conversation.

(I'm sure there are other points from this thread that I've missed, and probably a lot more concerns that haven't been voiced so far, but these are just a few that stuck out to me as I was re-reading this thread.)

I know the juries still out on whether JunebyLGBTQ will happen, but even if it doesn't, maybe the points brought up in this thread can help raise awareness of what we can do to make metafilter a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ members. For my part, I will definitely try to keep these things in mind going forward.

Apologies if this is another totally unhelpful comment.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I use queer to refer to people who aren't heterosexual and cisgender, because it's easier than deciding between LGBT vs GLBT vs LGBTQ vs GSM vs GLBTQA or whatever the acronym of the week is, and those are always going to leave off some obscure identity I've never heard of and people will be upset about the order of the letters and it just makes everything more difficult. If people are interpreting queer as a political thing, then I guess it doesn't describe me, and I wouldn't want a month-of-queer-theory-posts, but I guess if that was what we were talking about my opinion wouldn't matter. The thing that I do like the idea of is a month-of-optional-identification-by-people-who-aren't-heterosexual-and-cisgender.
posted by CJF at 9:05 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey, I'm still reading/skimming this ginormous thread, but I wanted to add that I am also a little bit uncomfortable with the idea. At this point, even just explaining that seeing trans posts actually stresses me out is something I don't really want to invest any energy in, so it's a good thing that hoyland and Conspire already wrote about that more eloquently than I could.

Fair enough. Why not drop an epic post on the topic that would blow the doors off it, whether it's under the tag of MonthBy or not?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:00 PM on May 8, 2015


PrideJune might also work, since "Pride" is pretty inclusive, as far as different rainbow groups are concerned, but I'd vote for that or "rainbow".

I like the idea of asking other site members to try to be particularly considerate for that month, since I think the massive clusterfucks we had in MeTa over feminism stuff + the mods telling people to stop being such assholes did end up being helpful for making site culture better.
posted by NoraReed at 12:02 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


From reading this discussion, it seemed like a fair amount of the pushback was coming from members who are arguing from a more radical, queer-theory informed position (e.g. Conspire, Dysk). I don't want to speak for them, but I'd guess that is connected to a long tradition of constructing a queer identity that holds inherent the challenging of cishet norms, something that would be in tension with the idea of a #JunebyLGBT.

I suppose I do use the word 'queer' in such a fashion, but that hasn't really got much to do with the crux of my opposition to this venture, which is explained at length above but effectively boils down to:

1) a bunch of L, G, and B people want to do a thing and call it somethingsomethingLGBT while a bunch of T people are saying no, and that plays into a whole massive history of complicated and problematic dynamics between LGB and T people
2) I don't feel the LGBT community in general necessarily need the kind of blanket #monthBY thing directly analogous to JulyByWomen because LGBT people are not structurally discouraged from speaking up in the way that women are
3) insofar as any effort is needed to encourage posting from the LGBT community, the thing that people may feel reluctant to post about on mefi generally is likely more radical or queer content, so any effort to address or encourage LGBT posting will - intentional or not, outright disclaiming the intent or not - effectively be a call for more queer posts (or have literally zero effect) for at least a proportion of queer users


How I use the word queer does not inform my objection particularly, though I suppose it is necessary to properly understand the way I have used it to understand the objection (much as you'd need to use the same definition as me for any given word to understand what I say).
posted by Dysk at 1:33 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


We are, in fact, trying to reassure you that while your fears are not crazytalk, in this specific case, your assumption is in error and you can trust that the OP doesn't have the nefarious motives you fear them having because they aren't what you assumed them to be.

I guess I should point out that I don't think the OP has nefarious motives. I think the idea generally and particularly the ensuing chorus of how it's such a wonderful idea is an example of the general problem of Metafilter not being very good at being allies, despite believing ourselves to be.
posted by hoyland at 6:24 AM on May 9, 2015


We might not be perfect but I think our hearts are in the right place, mostly. That might not be enough but it's something.
posted by h00py at 7:53 AM on May 9, 2015


Why not drop an epic post on the topic that would blow the doors off it, whether it's under the tag of MonthBy or not?

Because it's a Sisyphean thing. I've made a lot of posts that are more or less that, but it's always one step forward, two steps back. Moderation on the site has gotten significantly better on trans issues (and will, I hope, on a few other things), but the level of discourse hasn't really changed. The way the site treats women and talks about feminism has changed greatly for the better over the years, so MonthbyWomen is more of a sincere, voluntary opt-in encouragement to get people to post more. MonthbyMinority puts more of a burden on minorities to post stuff, and to associate posts with something that may not even be a big part of their identity/politics. I feel weird doing a MonthbyLGBT because I don't think MetaFilter does great on LGB and especially T posts (A and I posts are seemingly beyond the site's average ability to even understand); the site culture is really very conservative in many ways in spite of taking pride in its progressiveness and has a long way to go before efforts like these won't rub the wrong way just a little bit.

Or, I guess the easier way to say this is: if women are hesitant to post, there isn't really a real reason they should be, anymore! Boyzone is dead! (Well. Mostly.) Post away! But if LGB/T people (or, well, black people, Muslims, poor people...) are hesitant to post to the site, there...are actually a lot of behaviors and attitudes common to the site that make that understandable. Don't post away. Only post when you have the emotional energy to play educator or whatever, and get ready to permanently regret throwing yourself out there.
posted by byanyothername at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


[This fpp unexpectedly received a lot of pushback (ahem) so I don't think Boyzone is dead - though I see your parenthetical caveat.]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:44 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I saw that, and was pretty much thinking of exactly that thread in my parenthetical. But, for the most part, MetaFilter doesn't go down those roads anymore. To the betterment of everyone involved.
posted by byanyothername at 12:04 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I should point out that I don't think the OP has nefarious motives. I think the idea generally and particularly the ensuing chorus of how it's such a wonderful idea is an example of the general problem of Metafilter not being very good at being allies, despite believing ourselves to be.

hoyland, at this point it kind of feels to me like you are moving goal posts. The shitstorm that was my marriage makes me pretty sympathetic to how and why that happens, so that's not intended as a personal attack. More to say that as someone who is trying to be genuinely respectful of you, it's a frustrating thing to try to deal with when your stated reason for why you are uncomfortable seems to change every time you open your mouth and you seem to be looking for an excuse to argue and actively avoiding finding common ground or a meeting of the minds.

I am also feeling like most of the things I would like to comment on would amount to digging my own grave deeper. Suffice it to say that the way this MeTa went down makes me less confident that this is a good idea. It looks to me like the biggest offenders in mistreating queer people in this thread are other queer people. If the folks with the most invested in this can't manage to respect each other, I am not sure there is any way to make this work.
posted by Michele in California at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel weird doing a MonthbyLGBT because I don't think MetaFilter does great on LGB and especially T posts (A and I posts are seemingly beyond the site's average ability to even understand)

Yeah, but. But.

It's kind of weird to me to see this discussion framed as "LGB for, T against" when... ah, I think I have been possibly the most vocal person on the "pro" side here, and I am not L, G, or B--I'm the A, here, assuming you meant it to stand for asexual rather than ally. You can think of me as gay-ish if you want, but it's not accurate and I have a huge chip on my shoulder with respect to people both inside and outside queer communities trying to think of me as somehow "basically gay" or "basically straight." I am really, really, neither. And Conspire, who has been perhaps the most vocal person on the "reservations" side, is--I think, as far as I can tell, and I do apologize deeply if I mischaracterize you Conspire--a cis gay person. I think that this is more complicated than "LGB against T."

I will say this right now: Metafilter does do a boring, shitty job with discussing ace issues, judging by the posts on them I have seen. It'd be hard for the commentariat to do better, though, since posts are very rare and the ones I have seen mostly (with the exception of daisyk's recent Shades of A thread) are framed around a central link which is basically "yo, asexual people exist," and that's not a particularly fruitful topic of discussion. (Which is not to malign the author of the last one I saw posted, because she's amazing, and her current book is apparently getting shortlisted for all kinds of awards.) The cool stuff doesn't get posted, that I have seen, again with the exception of that Shades of A thread. And there is really not all that much to say about "yo, asexual people exist" that isn't either boring or offensive or, frankly, both.

And you know what? I don't care. I know very well that I will be doing a lot of heavy emotional lifting, making cranky counter-arguments in thread, and flagging asshole comments if an ace post goes up tomorrow. I would even venture to say that there are fewer people who are "my identity" here than there are trans people, so that I'd feel proportionately more responsible for trying to encourage good discussion and feel less able to take a step back from the thread. I know very well that it would be a thing that would be emotionally draining for me, and I'd probably get frustrated with people before long. You know, I think the first thing I ever flagged was this assholish comment that got left on the tag-end of this WIRED article about how asexual people were probably making it up and wondering what their sex lives were like at home? And I was actually astonished that LobsterMitten backed me up and deleted the original comment and left a note saying it wasn't okay, even if she also deleted my incredibly crabby response. I'm okay with that. I am okay with having to write in a crabby response and then flag mods. I am beginning to think they'll back me up, you know?

Christ knows, that's not any different from the entire rest of my life outside of the ace-only spaces I hang out in--and offline, I have had to personally organize almost every one I've ever been part of, and I expect to be doing that for most of the rest of my life. It is what it is! But Metafilter isn't actually as bad as the rest of my life goes, because at least here if I explain in short, pissed off words exactly why something is totally unacceptable at least people mean well enough to pause and listen to me and think about what I'm saying. People mean well even if they don't always do well, and meaning well on this subject is pretty fucking rare, let me tell you. And you know, not doing well is exhausting, and well-meaning people can totally piss me off on this subject and run me down and have me shouting exasperatedly from the roof that me saying I'm ace doesn't mean you get to inquire about my sex life, goddammit, I have some fucking privacy. Or similar things. But it is so much better than the alternative. Meaning well means you're open to learning. Meaning well means there's a chance for something better.

I still think this is a good idea. I'm not making an ace post until I have the energy to deal with it and I find something interesting to talk about written by a person I don't know. But goddammit, I want to be able to have a sense who is posting queer topics from a queer perspective, to a limited extent; I want to know who I can recognize as "like me" in at least a minor way, I want to be able to have a feeling that I'm not the only person in the room who isn't straight or cis. Actually, more than that; I want to have a feeling that I'm not the only person in the room who isn't necessarily uncomplicated in how they approach sexuality and gender. And even before this thread I felt like that--like I said, I kept a background running list in the back of my head about people I could count on to chime in when conversations about, say, queer history came up, or things that got complicated.

Because it matters. Knowing where people are coming from in conversation matters--even if people don't want to volunteer that, you know what, that's fine. But if they do, if they do mention it in conversation, I want to remember it. I want to know who is talking from personal experience in a conversation and who is just talking out of general interest. I want to know who is comfortable being open about all the bits of who they are. I want this to be a place where I feel comfortable being open about who I am. Hell, I have actually been using Metafilter as a place where I feel comfortable tossing off my actual identity as an aside and being out in a place where there are a lot of cis and straight and also queer-but-not-ace people. I am very consciously using this place as a zone to practice, because it's so much less exhausting than being publicly out and ace in other non-ace-specific spaces.

And jesus, this discussion is making me contemplate adding a "posted by asexual" tag to everything I write. Because that's a really important part of my perspective, even when I am posting about dumb initiatives to bring rhinos to Texas or dorky electric eel puns. I want this to be a place where I'm comfortable being all of me. And I really, really hope this initiative goes forward. Because I think killing it on the grounds that this place is not perfect and that its discussion are not perfect is a step back, not a step forward. And I think that a lot of the enthusiasm of other people who were previously excited about being part of this initiative has also been really exhausted, and honestly I think that's a shame. I still want to know what mochapickle thinks is so great. I want to see what other first time posters have to bring to the party. And I want to throw an excited, happy party for them and encourage more queer people to get more and more invested in this community. Frankly, I think that's the only way for things to get better: encourage more people to speak up, even if they're not the perfect queer or the perfect maligned identity or what the fuck ever. Get involved. Say stuff. Cheer things on. Because if you're silent and exhausted, well, the only voices speaking are the exhausting ones. I want to get more queer people in the conversation, and I think that a relatively low-pressure initiative like the way this started is the best way to do that.
posted by sciatrix at 1:05 PM on May 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


Dear god, that thread is terrible. Augh.

I think we're still at the ACES EXIST thing because a lot of us are, like, just figuring that out? It took me a long time of seeing ACES EXIST to be like "oh right that is me. that is my spectrum."
posted by NoraReed at 2:14 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, visibility has grown exponentially among the Internet-savvy in the last two or three years, and I know a lot of people who ran into the concept a long, long time before they went "oh. wait. fuck. that's... okay, that's actually me." But hey, I've been identifying as ace for ten years, so the really basic "this exists" stuff is really not what I enjoy spending time talking about unless I'm actively in teaching mode. *shrugs* I'm not saying I expect Metafilter to be, like, clued up on asexuality and perfect all the time and on the cutting edge of ace discussion. Actually, I have pretty low standards for response when I try to talk about the experience of being ace. I'm just pointing out that I am actually a member of an identity that is not exactly all that great with respect to discussion too, and I don't think that's a reason to avoid talking about it here on a more complex level. And I certainly do not think it's a good enough reason to not go through with this initiative.
posted by sciatrix at 2:28 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


And you know what? I don't care. I know very well that I will be doing a lot of heavy emotional lifting, making cranky counter-arguments in thread, and flagging asshole comments if an ace post goes up tomorrow. I would even venture to say that there are fewer people who are "my identity" here than there are trans people, so that I'd feel proportionately more responsible for trying to encourage good discussion and feel less able to take a step back from the thread. I know very well that it would be a thing that would be emotionally draining for me, and I'd probably get frustrated with people before long. You know, I think the first thing I ever flagged was this assholish comment that got left on the tag-end of this WIRED article about how asexual people were probably making it up and wondering what their sex lives were like at home? And I was actually astonished that LobsterMitten backed me up and deleted the original comment and left a note saying it wasn't okay, even if she also deleted my incredibly crabby response. I'm okay with that. I am okay with having to write in a crabby response and then flag mods. I am beginning to think they'll back me up, you know?

I'm glad you feel that way, but trans people aren't lying to you about how trans posts make us feel.
posted by hoyland at 2:39 PM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


When the hell did I say you were lying to me? Seriously, hoyland, where did I say that?
posted by sciatrix at 2:41 PM on May 9, 2015


Jesus christ. I know that you're tired. My whole point is that I'm tired too. But that doesn't mean that I think that this initiative here isn't a good idea with respect to doing the work to make the situation better.
posted by sciatrix at 2:42 PM on May 9, 2015


And note that this initiative here has absolutely nothing to do with making more queer content posts.
posted by sciatrix at 2:43 PM on May 9, 2015


It came off as "I experience all those things you mentioned and I'm a-okay with the situation, why aren't you?"
posted by hoyland at 2:52 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously, just.... fucking christ, I am so angry. What do you want, hoyland? What do you want out of me here, or out of anyone who is pro doing this? Why the fuck did you accuse me of telling you that you were lying about your feelings? What is your best case scenario end goal for this conversation? Because I gotta say, I don't know what the fuck I could say--or that anyone who thinks this project is anything but a terrible idea which should sink unheard in the swamp, or for that matter anyone who thinks posting about queer shit on the blue is worth it--I don't know what the fuck I could say that you wouldn't find something to shit on.

I'm not fucking okay with this situation. Okay? I just disagree with you on how best to fix things. Because I am reading you as saying "the mode of discussion on queer and especially trans issues on Metafilter is broken, so I wish people would stop bringing them up because I find them exhausting." And on that point I disagree emphatically.
posted by sciatrix at 2:55 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


And note that this initiative here has absolutely nothing to do with making more queer content posts.

We've been round and round on this. Way back here, I explained why I think this idea is tied to 'let's have more queer content', regardless of the intent.
posted by hoyland at 2:55 PM on May 9, 2015


I'm glad you feel that way, but trans people aren't lying to you about how trans posts make us feel.

Thank you for talking for all of us.
posted by NotATailor at 2:59 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because I am reading you as saying "the mode of discussion on queer and especially trans issues on Metafilter is broken, so I wish people would stop bringing them up because I find them exhausting."

What I mean to convey is "we're not going to fix this with more posts and we're not going to fix this unless we're willing to to do some serious work on how we talked about marginalised groups and thinking that a theme month does some good is pretty much symptomatic of the problem".
posted by hoyland at 3:01 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thank you for talking for all of us.

Did you lie about how trans posts make you feel? As far as I recall, everyone who's said something on the subject has spoken as an individual about their own feelings.
posted by hoyland at 3:02 PM on May 9, 2015


What the fuck do you want to have happen, then? What do you want to do? Because your entire tenure on this thread has been saying that things that other people bring up are the wrong way to handle this problem, and I've asked repeatedly what people would want to have happen. If this is a problem worth fixing, let's fucking try to fix it. Even if it's not perfect it is better than nothing. I ask again: what is your best case scenario?

And god, I'm so fucking tired of this thread. Sure, this initiative wouldn't solve everything. It wouldn't even solve most of the problem. But I think it would be a step in the right direction. What direction do you want to step in?
posted by sciatrix at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe you need to take a step back, sciatrix? hoyland seems to be posting in good faith and I don't think deserves the level of invective that you're hurling.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:09 PM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm at a loss to how telling me that I have accused half the thread of lying about their feelings by speaking about my own exhaustion is "posting in good faith." You're probably right, though; like I said, I'm still furious. I'll step out for a while now.
posted by sciatrix at 3:12 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did you lie about how trans posts make you feel? As far as I recall, everyone who's said something on the subject has spoken as an individual about their own feelings.


You're the one who said 'us'. If you'd said 'me' that would be different. But you're the one saying 'us' as though we're all a monolith.

My feeling on theme months? Theme months give a chance to, in a thread like this, for example, read up on what the problems are, then spend a month practicing new things, offering people new skills and tools to handle a conversation and discussing how to properly deal with the problems faced.

We're never going to get perfection without small steps first. A theme month isn't perfect, but it's a step. It takes many small steps to get somewhere. I'm really tired of people who speak out against the small steps because they're imperfect without offering an alternative path other than 'just don't take the steps'. Steps have to be taken. It's one thing to say 'the path that theme months are on are problematic because X, so let's do Y instead.' That offers an alternative place to take a step. Saying 'Theme months are bad' is the same as saying 'don't take steps' in the context of this conversation.

At least, that's how I feel. I tend to stay out of these conversations because of how irritated I get at people who offer up only 'it's imperfect, so don't do it'. The expectation of perfection holds people back from taking steps. Heck, the expectation of perfection holds ME back from interacting with other transpeople because different sectors of the community change language so fast and the language that worked when I entered the community and realized who I was is now entirely out of date and if I use it, even if I know no alternative, I get leapt upon and shouted at because I'm not perfect.
posted by NotATailor at 3:13 PM on May 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


Honestly, I just want Metafilter as a whole to recognise there is a problem and that it's not good enough for our 'hearts to be in the right place'. It's not limited to queer posts, collectively we're prone to thinking we know the quick and easy solution to anything, and wonder (loudly) why no one has thought of our brilliant idea, completely ignoring that the brilliant idea probably isn't all that brilliant (and is probably misunderstanding systemic factors) and that there may well be people in the post whose lives are directly affected by whatever the issue is being told that if only the listened to the prototypical quite privileged Mefite, their problems would be solved.

I'm at a loss to how telling me that I have accused half the thread of lying about their feelings by speaking about my own exhaustion is "posting in good faith." You're probably right, though; like I said, I'm still furious.

I'm open to the possibility that I misread your comment. I felt like I was being told people were either lying or being told to stop whining.
posted by hoyland at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're the one who said 'us'. If you'd said 'me' that would be different. But you're the one saying 'us' as though we're all a monolith.

'us' = 'people who have commented on the subject in the thread'? Maybe I missed something, but the comments were along the same lines.
posted by hoyland at 3:20 PM on May 9, 2015


I'm at a loss to how telling me that I have accused half the thread of lying about their feelings by speaking about my own exhaustion is "posting in good faith." You're probably right, though; like I said, I'm still furious. I'll step out for a while now.

Frankly, you may not have meant to, but it did seem like you were implying strongly that people who are trans should not have a problem because you didn't have a problem as an asexual. If that was not your intention, it might help to clarify what you meant.

I personally have no issue with this month one way or another, maybe I'm slightly for it. I do think that it is very easy for people who are not trans to dismiss the concerns of trans people. Being under the same umbrella is not enough to provide perfect insight, and listening is important. I hope that this was a miscommunication.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


(I know that not all trans people have the same concerns, I meant the concerns that a specific trans person might have--I am a clumsy writer, apologies)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2015


For clarity, since you are asking: I was posting entirely about my own experiences and my own feelings on this initiative. My anger here is coming very much from a place of hurt, because I have been doing my best to listen to the concerns you and Conspire have been expressing for a week and try to think of other ways to improve the problem. I have gotten literally no response except from LobsterKitten on that front. I am was also trying to clarify my position as not goddamn LGB which is a point I am pretty sensitive on and which was getting elided substantially. There's a reason that my comment was fucking phrased in I statements, and it's because I was talking exclusively about myself.

Seriously, I am incredibly upset and offended you would read my comment so uncharitably given the past week of context. I have tried repeatedly to make sure that your concerns and feelings are given weight in this thread and that people who have said "okay, but your concerns are misplaced" are encouraged to let you speak. I have explictly asked other people to voice their opinions and concerns. You are not obliged to think in any particular way of me, but I think that I can reasonably expect at this point to have a comment that is phrased entirely in terms of my own feelings to be read exactly as what it is: a comment about my own feelings and opinions.
posted by sciatrix at 3:36 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I just want Metafilter as a whole to recognise there is a problem and that it's not good enough for our 'hearts to be in the right place'.

Which is a reasonable thing to want and something I hope we keep making progress toward because absolutely there is stuff that the userbase can be sort of collectively clueless or 101 about and it'd be great if that were not so. But it's also a gigantic request, because we're talking about a large, heterogenous general-interest crowd with a mix of highly-engaged regulars and a lot more less attentive occasional participants and lurkers and readers. There's no system, on this site and at this scale, for concrete consensus building or establishment of high-level topic-specific conversation guidelines beyond essentially "try to not knowingly be a dick to each other"; progress on everything more advanced than that is going to be slow and complicated and porous even when it goes well.

And I have zero doubt that that's a frustrating thing when something that is important to you at a personal or group identity level is one of the things people are, at best, cluelessly well-meaning about. And, hoyland, I hear you that you feel like doing something like a LGBTQ theme month is problematic in light of that low standard of conversational expectation. I think that's a totally legitimate way to feel.

But I also share some of the sense others have expressed of feeling like that, as a standard for how and whether Metafilter does anything as a community to try and be proactively supportive in some way of LGBTQ community members as a visible group on the site, does end up feeling like a conclusion that the answer is to not ever do anything until things are just suddenly great somehow for external reasons. Basically nothing that ever happens here is perfect or even close to it; I think the question in my mind for this idea is less one of whether it represents a best-of-all-worlds sort of scenario than one of whether it's something about which a plurality of folks speaking up from within mefi's LGBTQ membership feel reasonably good.

I don't really expect anything like unanimity to come out of a conversation like this; people are gonna disagree. But I think it's worth keeping in mind, in all directions, that people disagreeing doesn't always come down to them just not yet understanding a point that needs to be made for the nth time; sometimes folks just actually do disagree on this stuff while otherwise being mostly on the same page and respecting one another as fellow community members.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:37 PM on May 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I will suggest that asking someone to step back and then criticizing them after they have agreed to take a step back is kind of a crappy practice. Since sciatrix was asked to step away and said she would, she should have not then gotten follow up replies that were critical. It makes it really hard to walk away.
posted by Michele in California at 3:40 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


In some ways the well-meaning attempt to be inclusive by lumping together LGBTQIA* is a demonstration of how challenging this can be, because it fails to recognize the real political, social and personal differences between these diverse identities and communities. Appreciating these differences is where things can start to go beyond Ally 101.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seriously, I am incredibly upset and offended you would read my comment so uncharitably given the past week of context.

I don't know that I can say anything that would lead you to feel less hurt. I can tell you I was kind of puzzled by how I was reading your comment because it didn't make sense in the context of the last week. Of all the comments to misunderstand, that was a particularly shitty one for me to pick and I'm sorry.
posted by hoyland at 4:58 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is getting at me is that you read the comment in the worst possible light, were puzzled about why I would say something like that, and then commented snidely as if I was obviously saying the terrible thing you thought I was and needed to be smacked down. Hoyland, if you are confused about a comment that seems out of character, next time maybe ask for clarification before going for the curt snarky response. I accept your apology, but just.... damn. Ouch. I guess I see what you think of me now.

I gotta say, I appreciate your desire to make everyone think about the ramifications of this event, but I think that horse is well and truly beaten to death. And I agree absolutely with cortex that just wanting everyone to think about it more is a nebulous goal that we can't actually do anything to reach ahead of time. I can't control what anyone else is thinking or feeling. All I can control is what I do, and it sounds like you don't have much of a plan about where to go on that front either.

Is there anyone who feels so strongly about this idea that they absolutely 100% feel it should not go forward? Because for all the vague uneasiness and commentary I've heard from various corners, I have also seen a lot of "if this goes forward I want people to keep this in mind" and "if people want to do this I'm not stopping you...." type reactions. And I saw a lot of enthusiasm to start among new posters who wanted to get more involved in this community, and I would love to see if that enthusiasm hasn't been completely squashed yet.
posted by sciatrix at 7:49 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there anyone who feels so strongly about this idea that they absolutely 100% feel it should not go forward? Because for all the vague uneasiness and commentary I've heard from various corners, I have also seen a lot of "if this goes forward I want people to keep this in mind" and "if people want to do this I'm not stopping you...." type reactions.

That's because no one has the nerve to be the person who stands up and says we shouldn't do it. I mean, who are any of us as individuals to dictate to the however many people who are regularly active on Metafilter?

What is getting at me is that you read the comment in the worst possible light, were puzzled about why I would say something like that, and then commented snidely as if I was obviously saying the terrible thing you thought I was and needed to be smacked down. Hoyland, if you are confused about a comment that seems out of character, next time maybe ask for clarification before going for the curt snarky response. I accept your apology, but just.... damn. Ouch. I guess I see what you think of me now.

Please understand I wasn't being snarky, but reacting from a place of hurt.
posted by hoyland at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2015


As I see it, no one really has the nerve to stand up and say we definitely should do it when people are expressing unease, either. I mean, multiple people mentioned they'd started enthusiastic and then felt that posting a new fpp would be too scary and/or that the expectations would be too high.

I get that you were coming from a place of hurt, but frankly, so am I. As I see it, I basically tried to say "Hey, I'm vulnerable here too, I've been in places a lot like yours, and here's where I'm coming from when I say I'm for it even though those feelings suck" and you punched me right in those vulnerabilities, right after I'd spent a long time talking about where I was coming from. And that's kind of what is getting me about queer discussions on metafilter--there's this assumption that the person we're talking to totally knows less than we do, or is arguing from a place of ignorance, if they say something that is contrary to our own feelings or experience. And I am saying "we" here because I have definitely done this too as well as had it done to me.

Conspire mentioned that their queer circles were mostly private connections with long term friends these days, and that's been my experience too, that most of the interesting conversations happen between people who already know each other and trust each other to believe that the things they say are well meant. People who love each other enough to extend the benefit of the doubt and gently inquire rather than snap if something seems problematic or if there is a disagreement. And.... the thing is, I think that impoverishes the community, because it means it's harder for people who are afraid to strike up their own connections to hear that their experiences are maybe not as unusual as they think, or that they're not alone with their problems. I think the interesting conversations would benefit from being seen by more people. I wish we could try to build a space where there's room to have those conversations and trust each other, even when we're coming from different backgrounds. To trust each other to mean the best interpretation of each other's words rather than the worst.

I might, of course, be naive. Frankly, I probably am. But I'm imperfect and messy and a human being and I expect the people around me to be imperfect and messy too--but also, to try and move towards something better, even if we're just blundering around in the dark. Still better than standing still in the dark. And honestly, I think that trying to do a hard thing is better than doing nothing at all.
posted by sciatrix at 8:07 PM on May 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


there's this assumption that the person we're talking to totally knows less than we do, or is arguing from a place of ignorance

This is really the dark side of that "educating X group of people is exhausting." Because, yeah, nobody wants that burden, but it also sucks to have someone completely dismiss the idea of identification-with, empathy-for, understanding-of-even-if-by-analogy. I have been on both sides of the, "you don't understand, no, I'm serious, you honestly have no idea" conversation, and I swear, both sides send me into hiding. I find it kind of demeaning to be pictured as a dim-witted student there is really no hope for. So I try to stay out of conversations about this stuff as much as possible. Which really sucks, because without hearing about other people's experiences and identifications, how can I understand or construct my own? How can you know what you are, or are not, unless you have some way to test the ideas, and what better way to test those ideas than spend time listening to someone's experience and analogize it with your own?

I just feel like when we think about the audience for a tag like this, it shouldn't be limited to the people we know will respond in the thread. Right? I mean, I don't want to get personal here, I don't feel comfortable doing that, but I'll just say, there is no community around me. I live in an area that is actively, violently hostile to queerness and any expression of gender that is not "boys wear camo and girls wear heels." It is emotionally and morally deadening. When I try to find an online sense of community, it doesn't work. I am constantly sensing myself at a disadvantage with the acronyms and neologisms and a pressure to identify correctly and finally, to squeeze into a well-defined box.

I am not good at this. What I am good at, is listening to people's stories, and trying them on the way you might try on clothes to see if they fit. And to feel a sense of relief even if they don't fit, because then at least I've learned something about myself. This has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with (a fairly mechanical version of) empathy and identification.

And this is an interesting place for people's stories. Not the posts themselves, necessarily--I mean, obviously I'm reading those all the time too--but the comments, the way people express themselves, the way they let slip bits of their history. So when I picture this tag, when I picture this month, what I'm really thinking about is learning the names of more people whose identity might be a little closer to mine, than other people's. And being able to read more closely the things they go on to say. To feel a sense of community and identity that way, as artificial and stilted as that is. But at the moment, it's all I've got, and out of the millions of people who read this site, I have to imagine I'm not the only one.
posted by mittens at 9:17 PM on May 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


As I see it, no one really has the nerve to stand up and say we definitely should do it when people are expressing unease, either.

I originally came in as very much for this. I did so because both study and long experience tell me that this kind of thing -- being open about your minority status while finding some means to NOT put an excess of focus on it per se -- is a very powerful means to make real progress. My unwillingness to stand up and say we definitely should do it when people are expressing unease has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of nerve. It has to do with a basic fundamental respect and compassion for other human beings.

It also has to do with my belief that if you really want to make the world a better place, you should try hard to avoid approaches that are like fucking raping to preserve virginity. Violations of human rights start with a fundamental lack of respect for people. If you want better treatment for people, you need to start with respecting them and caring about how they feel and what they think, not pooh-poohing their concerns and bulling on ahead anyway.

Also, since I was not personally planning to use the hashtag, I didn't think it was my place to volunteer other people to put themselves on display (though I am debating whether or not to participate at this point). But I can tell you that this is absolutely the exact kind of thing that will start improving some of the problems people have expressed concern with in this discussion.

It takes time. It isn't all dramatic. It's slow and subtle and gradual. And that is exactly the reason it is brilliant -- because it will be far more palatable to everyone involved than something more in-your-face revolutionary. It will involve a lot less pain and suffering and rolling of heads and fighty-ness than more direct approaches to combatting bias and trying to "educate" people or raise awareness.

So, if folks are more comfortably for this monthBY initiative at this point, I will second the suggestion to call it something like PrideJune or RainbowJune rather than one of the alphabet soup acronyms previously put forth.
posted by Michele in California at 1:37 PM on May 10, 2015


The "compare everything to rape" thing is beyond tasteless and best avoided if you want to retain any reader sympathy. Seriously.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:00 PM on May 10, 2015 [19 favorites]


Rape hinges upon the detail of consent. In this case, I think it is an apt analogy and I don't know of anything else that quite fits the bill. I am open to suggestions.

I would also be more concerned about this if the mods seemed as concerned about protecting me from others as they do about protecting others from me. There was no mod intervention when I was being told to basically stfu and gtfo for being insufficiently queer in this meta after stating that I am not straight. It looks a hair hypocritical.
posted by Michele in California at 2:12 PM on May 10, 2015


Please don't make this about you.
posted by Etrigan at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


I've been trying not to take the bait, but yeah. What etrigan said.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:18 PM on May 10, 2015


Etrigan, I'm not. But I don't see why I should stand quietly by and put up with being publicly chastised by a mod like this. If restless nomad were genuinely concerned about me getting along better with people, a private note advising me of how badly that might go over could have been dropped instead of getting after me so she can be wildly upvoted by folks who don't like me.

There are lots of ways to handle this that don't make this about me and I was not the person making it about me. But I am tired of some of the double standards here.
posted by Michele in California at 2:19 PM on May 10, 2015


But I don't see why I should stand quietly by and put up with being publicly chastised by a mod like this.

You made a totally unnecessary rape analogy, out of the blue, in an already difficult discussion. It's something we've asked people not to do many times on the site, because it basically always sucks. You are not being singled out, you're just not being given some special dispensation to be privately contacted about something we do indeed call other people out on in public. Please let this drop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:25 PM on May 10, 2015 [15 favorites]


It's not a double standard. You made an horrifically inflammatory analogy, practically guaranteed to upset people and derail this discussion. Whether you think it appropriate or not, injecting sexual assault into a conversation that is already heated and fraught is not a great way of engaging with it.
posted by zarq at 2:29 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


frankly, no one told you to stfu and gtfo for being insufficiently queer. and that is, IMO, a homophobic (?) attitude, to act like you're being policed and victimized by queer people because someone who is queer disagrees with you. it plays into this stereotype of political speech and activism as being a form of bullying, and it's nonsense. mild critique does not equal harassment, exclusion, or whatever else you want to imply.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:29 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


so she can be wildly upvoted by folks who don't like me

FWIW, I don't dislike you but I do dislike that rhetorical maneuver and I think restless_nomad was correct to publicly state that it should be avoided.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:29 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


And MetaFilter doesn't have upvoting.
posted by jaguar at 3:30 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


so she can be wildly upvoted by folks who don't like me

Michelle in California, I don't dislike you either. But as one person to another who perhaps struggles with similar inclinations, one thing that can stick a bit in your rhetorical style is a sense that you want to be an authoritative voice in the discussion without always having earned it, and that this sometimes leads to personal narrative that is used in a way that feels sometimes less than genuine and serves your end more than it does to engage in discussion in good faith for the purpose of solving problems. It's hard at times to give the benefit of the doubt when it feels like stories and rhetoric are used to manipulate or gain a premature soapbox rather than to make connections with people for a common cause. When people push back on your approach, perhaps you feel as if it's pushing back on your earned authority to participate. This seems to create the "back or forth" that becomes a lot about you, as you feel as if you have something bigger to lose than the issues at hand. I'm a firm believer that authority on topics should be earned through community participation and a garnered sense of trust, as we tell our stories. Sometimes it feels that you want to skip the first part to the "narratives told" as if they somehow create authority on their own.

I would be very happy to be wrong about this, as I hate saying things that have a potential to hurt people. But because I think it might be helpful to hear, I do have natural tendency to push back in my mind for some reason on your comments if they seem to big to be playing the "desired authority by means of personal narrative" with some rhetorical hard-ball thrown it. It's okay to use personal stories, and it's okay to use strong rhetoric at times. I don't get tempted to upvote those critiques of your comments that are about crossing the line (hey, we all do it sometimes), but those that point out the issues of presentation and good-faith intent that others bring to your attention, and they seem to go nowhere.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:46 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, if folks are more comfortably for this monthBY initiative at this point

That's a big if, and I for one so not think such a consensus has been established in the way that you imply.
posted by Dysk at 9:04 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been attempting to sit back and learn quietly from those I would like to be a better ally to, but this seems the point where I jump back in to note that I personally am feeling less comfortable, not more, with the initative. I'm glad we're talking about it and I don't necessarily think that we should not do it, but I'm feeling much less certain that I'll participate in it myself. Or, maybe I will participate but will be much more careful about the types of things I post. (We've mostly talked about trans posts being made by cis-straight people here, but I know I made one as a cis-bisexual person that could be considered a "look, trans people exist!" post, and I'm retroactively displeased with myself for potentially causing some trans MeFites to have the "oh, no, why are you shining the spotlight at us again" moment.)

I do love the simple visibility that we've been talking about, and that even this thread has provided. I would enjoy that part of this initiative, if we move ahead with it. Hi, fellow queer folks. I see you. I'm happy you're here. I'm glad we're having this conversation even if parts of it are not-so-comfortable. I look forward to seeing more posts from you, whether or not they're part of a #monthby initiative.
posted by Stacey at 5:59 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dysk wrote:

"That's a big if, and I for one so not think such a consensus has been established in the way that you imply."

How do we decide when there's a consensus, though?

[ancillary question: do we even _need_ a consensus to try this as an experiment?]

(I mean, I have a hard time deciding if there are a few people that have problems with this going forward - but! they are vocal and very active in this thread - and thank you for speaking up - or, if the silent majority are generally okay with this and we should just push the button and do it.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:09 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not suggesting such a consensus is necessarily required, I was merely objecting to the way I saw the situation characterised.
posted by Dysk at 9:19 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Since it's a voluntary thing, and looks positive at a glance, I imagine people will just go for it, but hopefully with the understanding that not everyone is comfortable with or participating in it, and that it's kind of different from MonthbyWomen in a number of ways.

A lot of the positivity seems to be coming from an assumption that Monthby[Group] is always a totally interchangeable thing, but there are things to keep in mind with each case, like how the site treats different groups and their issues, what the demographics are ("women" are a huge chunk of the site; "LGB people" much less so, "T people" small enough that MonthbyTransPeople would put an active burden on folks) and so on. I like the idea waaaaay up above to just do a generic, "Encourage everyone who's hesitant to make posts to make posts!" month instead. If there's real concern that people in a particular group aren't posting, and the group is large enough and well treated enough and vocally okay enough with doing a specific theme month, then that's okay; but just springing a theme month to tie into something like Pride feels like an unasked for thing.

There's also the issue that lumping people into larger groups--"LGBTQ," "PeopleofColor," whatever--can kind of dilute specific identities and issues, but on the other hand focusing more intently on a MonthbySmallishOnsiteMinority puts an actual burden on people to post, lest the theme month just be like one guy making one post.
posted by byanyothername at 9:24 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm just wondering if this is going forward, and who or what determines if it _does_ go forward.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:55 PM on May 11, 2015


Both of the previous MonthBy events were fundamentally user-driven, self-organizing things; folks on the site wanted to do it, talked/argued about it, and decided to go forward with it, and as mods we didn't see a reason to say that it couldn't happen, and so it happened.

So as far as that goes, I don't feel like this is something where there's a clear reason to say this is a definitively bad idea that shouldn't happen; folks have talked a lot in here about why they support the idea or would want to participate, and about why they're less supportive of it or don't think they'll personally feel comfortable participating, but I don't feel like things have moved past any clear threshold of group consensus that it either (a) must happen or (b) must not happen.

And the Must Not Happen thing is the main issue in my eyes; if we're not there, then it happening seems like an okay thing. I don't think from the mod side we have a reason to say don't, and so I remain down with the idea of it going forward and we'll support it like we have the previous MonthBy events that happened by trying to encourage folks who want to participate to do so on the terms they like.

Which means, in practice, that for it to happen people just need to figure out the details, probably with a followup thread between now and the first of the month (if it's gonna be in June) to hash out any planning specifics so there's a clear plan for when it kicks off. There's been talk in here of what to call it, and that'd be good to settle, to find something folks generally agree is a good inclusive title and corresponding tag; it'd also be good to figure out a slightly more elaborated statement of the overall idea in one or two paragraphs so people coming to a kickoff post without having read up on all the prior discussion of this and previous events will be able to get the gist right away.

And, from there, maybe it'll be a really positive success and keep happening in the future; maybe it'll be kind of a flop or leave folks feeling meh-to-negative about it after the fact and we'll let it be. This stuff is sort of experimental by nature, so there's an element of risk involved in giving something a shot. But if a lot of folks feel positive about giving it a shot, then that's an okay thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:46 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


And the Must Not Happen thing is the main issue in my eyes; if we're not there, then it happening seems like an okay thing.

I think, though, that the particular dynamics of this situation vs the month by women make that not necessarily the best choice, though. I think byanyothername is right and that it's going to happen anyway, but "hopefully with the understanding that not everyone is comfortable with or participating in it, and that it's kind of different from MonthbyWomen in a number of ways" is, I think, way too much to hope for and that's at least part of why those of us saying "not a good idea" aren't saying "eh, not interested, but do what you want".
posted by hoyland at 4:44 PM on May 11, 2015


Based on an an earlier thread, I saw a user who defended her right to SSM and its attendant legal rights attacked by another user as selfish, and she was told that this impulse was a threat to the "human family." Some of this stuff is since deleted, and for the best. That user openly advocated discrimination.

I don't think we'd accept a user who openly advocated legal discrimination on any other basis that wasn't sexual orientation, so...

I think this makes a case for the thing in the first place. On the other hand, I've spent a couple of days thinking about some of the other points people have made here. So my opinion on this has gone from "Yay! Let's do it!" to "Hey. Let's do it and see what comes of it."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:20 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, where we got bigots, we gotta go tell them to fuck off. Not that's great etiquette - it just outs the trolls and gets them shut down. Is that unreasonable? Not everyone's comfortable with that. Nor do they have to post in that way. So flying the flag (or a flag), whatever that may be, says this isn't safe ground for you bigots. Not by a long shot. People also don't have to feel compelled to post.

Can we experiment with it, though?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:32 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


If the decision to go forward is "yes," then here's some suggested wording, my opinion only, so just throwing this out there:

"JuneByLGBTQ recognizes formal pride celebrations in some places in the world, but makes a more important point about how the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people around the world is far from over.

This label doesn't represent the full sexual and gender diversity of Metafilter users. However, it affirms the aim of Metafilter to break down barriers between people. This should tell you to be respectful and listen to others before responding. If it doesn't, there are other places on the web where you can go."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:49 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hm. I like it. Here's my crack at it:

"JuneByLGBTQ is a community-driven, month-long effort to recognize, value, and respect the full spectrum of sexuality, gender, asexuality, and other non-conforming, non-mainstream human expressions of gender and orientation.

"This effort also seeks to raise awareness and understanding amongst its user base, and affirm that all members of the MetaFilter website are welcomed and valued."

I don't know, it doesn't mention LGBTQ so maybe a big fail there. And it's a bit touchy-feely, but I like it that way. :D That might be too precious for some though...

Anyone else want to give it a go?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:22 PM on May 11, 2015


(oh! beg your pardon I do mention LGBTQ right off the bat, as part of the tag, but it could stand to be reiterated in the second para. Just spitballing at any rate.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:24 PM on May 11, 2015


Nice!

Not trying to run this - just had some thoughts on how this could be worded incorporating JCIFA's input. I'll just leave this here and let other folks have a go.

"JuneByLGBTQ is a community-driven, month-long effort to give voice to the full spectrum of sexual and gender identities of members of the Metafilter community, and demonstrate how welcomed and valued those voices can be.

June marks formal LGBTQ pride celebrations in some places in the world, but the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people around the world is far from over.

All sorts of people with non-conforming, non-mainstream sexualities and gender identities are part of this community. This tag doesn't, in and of itself, represent the full sexual and gender diversity of Metafilter users. You can read more about what this means in this MeTa discussion.

However, it affirms that the aim of Metafilter to break down barriers between people.

This should tell you to be respectful and listen to others before posting FPPs using the JuneByLGBTQ tag, and when responding to them. If it doesn't tell you that, there are other places on the web where you can go. But that goes for anything else you post to Metafilter."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:13 AM on May 12, 2015


Can we not listen to even the mildest, most easily addressed, least disruptive objections raised by the majority of trans mefites involved in this discussion, and not call it JuneByLGBTQ at the very least?
posted by Dysk at 1:16 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


That we're still working on the basis of calling it that does not fill me with confidence that our concerns have, are, or will be listened to, like, and does not fill me with optimism for the venture exactly.
posted by Dysk at 1:18 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


JuneByLGBTQ is a community-driven, month-long effort to give voice to the full spectrum of sexual and gender identities of members of the Metafilter community, and demonstrate how welcomed and valued those voices can be.

We've seriously devoted several hundred comments to the fact that this isn't the case. Could we at least pretend that some of our reservations were worthy of acknowledgement?
posted by hoyland at 5:03 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Basically, with respect to you two, the proposed texts kind of embody my objections. We're kidding ourselves if we think that having a theme months is doing anything for anyone's rights. A tag doesn't increase the visibility of the diversity of human identities reflected on Metafilter--we've been told time and again that we're not expected to post queer content, which means that we're just making ourselves visible as some hypothetical, homogenous 'LGBT', which really means "gay men and, oh, yeah, lesbians exist" and that really means "only the most 'nonthreatening' members of those groups".
posted by hoyland at 5:13 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's me spitballing and it's totally re-writable. My point was to get the ball rolling, not say, "it should be this." (Also, sorry, I couldn't resist trying my hand as I love writing.)

It's EASY to rewrite, add different lines, or agree not to do anything at all! Super easy.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Btw I am only one person - my writeup is not the end-all, be-all. I would LOVE to read something written by others, mine was a late-night spitballing para or two, and I'm not at my best then.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:20 AM on May 12, 2015


Can we not listen to even the mildest, most easily addressed, least disruptive objections raised by the majority of trans mefites involved in this discussion, and not call it JuneByLGBTQ at the very least?

Sure, should have called that [placeholder MonthBy], or whatever. I intended that as placeholder, not as a dismissal of extensively-discussed problems with that tag, so apologies for not being clear on that.

We've seriously devoted several hundred comments to the fact that this isn't the case. Could we at least pretend that some of our reservations were worthy of acknowledgement?

No need to pretend. They were and are.

I just figured throwing down a paragraph or two of description, however half-assedly, would get things crystallized around what this should or shouldn't say.

Go nuts on ripping it apart or proposing something else entirely.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:23 AM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


It strikes me that one would need to answer the following questions:
  • What is the objective of a theme month?
  • How does marking posts as being made by an LGBT person accomplish this goal? (This is where you've got to convince people you're not tacitly asking for queer content.)
  • How does having a theme month challenge the status quo on Metafilter? (Is this too much of a leading question? I think it's a fair one given the point of month-by-women.)
  • If one is not asking for queer content and not asking posters to explain their queerness (eew), how do we know that 'visibility' isn't just 'visibility for cis gay men and lesbians'? (I'm assuming the word 'visiblity' will appear in an answer to at least one of the first three. And to be clear, the answer isn't "Well, bi and trans people can stop that being the case by posting"! Posters will be presumed to fit a certain kind of 'LGBT' (i.e. the HRC's mold).)
  • How does Metafilter prevent the theme month from backfiring and placing additional burdens on already marginalized groups?
  • (sort of related to the third) How does a theme month encourage en environment in which queer people feel welcomed? How does it avoid the big pitfall of just being an opportunity for everyone to pat themselves on the back for being so supportive and such great allies?
Not surprisingly, I don't think there are satisfactory answers to all these questions, which is why I think a theme month is the wrong thing to do. But I think serious, well-thought out attempts to answer them is the minimum bar that needs to be cleared for this to not be an entry in the "Metafilter likes to think it's progressive and isn't" greatest hits.
posted by hoyland at 4:00 PM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


If one is not asking for queer content and not asking posters to explain their queerness (eew), how do we know that 'visibility' isn't just 'visibility for cis gay men and lesbians'? (I'm assuming the word 'visiblity' will appear in an answer to at least one of the first three. And to be clear, the answer isn't "Well, bi and trans people can stop that being the case by posting"! Posters will be presumed to fit a certain kind of 'LGBT' (i.e. the HRC's mold).)

I don't understand. Are you saying that LGBT shouldn't be used as an acronym when referring to someone who self-identifies as a member of one (or more) of those four groups because of cultural connotations? Because obviously it includes initials that include Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people. Should the acronym never be used?

For this initiative would another acronym be preferable, such as QUILTBAG? Would allies be better off using a different acronym as well?
posted by zarq at 4:19 PM on May 12, 2015


I'm asking in part out of concern that I might be using a deprecated acronym. I wouldn't like to think I was being rude or exclusionary to people here, even inadvertently.
posted by zarq at 4:22 PM on May 12, 2015


FWIW, this particular B uses either queer or QUILTBAG these days, though I know neither is a perfect solution, rather than exclude my ace, trans, intersex, and genderfluid friends from the umbrella. (Though as I edge closer to thinking I ought to call myself pan rather than bi, QUILTBAG is also starting to seem a bad fit. Kinda starting to just think of the whole messy somewhat oddly-lumped-together lot of us as "family" and leaving it at that, for my personal usage.)
posted by Stacey at 4:28 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's nothing wrong with LGBT as such (well, inclusivity issues aside). It just has this annoying tendency to be used to mean 'cis gay men and lesbians' and often even more narrowly than that. (That's what the jab at the HRC was about. The HRC is great for white cis gay people (often men) who have money for getting dressed up and going to fundraisers. It doesn't do a whole lot for the rest of us.)
posted by hoyland at 4:35 PM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


It just has this annoying tendency to be used to mean 'cis gay men and lesbians'

As an example of not doing this, there was a survey about LGB participation in sport that just came out. In the introduction they specifically said "Look, we know everyone says 'LGBT' these days, but we didn't address trans issues at all in our survey and should be honest about that." (Should they have bothered addressing trans issues? Yeah, but at least they weren't pretending the T was there.)
posted by hoyland at 4:43 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with LGBT as such (well, inclusivity issues aside). It just has this annoying tendency to be used to mean 'cis gay men and lesbians' and often even more narrowly than that.

OK. That makes sense.

I guess I'll try to use QUILTBAG in the future. Thank you (and thank you, Stacey) for explaining. It's quite helpful.

(That's what the jab at the HRC was about. The HRC is great for white cis gay people (often men) who have money for getting dressed up and going to fundraisers. It doesn't do a whole lot for the rest of us.)

Ugh, yeah. The HRC. I still remember them throwing trans people under the damned bus over ENDA.
posted by zarq at 4:54 PM on May 12, 2015


Oh god no not quiltbag. That's just awful.

Agreed on the HRC. They've been making atrocious mistakes on trans issues (but also more than trans issues) for decades now.

Posters will be presumed to fit a certain kind of 'LGBT' (i.e. the HRC's mold)

What? Why do you keep insisting that's true? It's an unproven assumption on your part that you present as fact.

...which means that we're just making ourselves visible as some hypothetical, homogenous 'LGBT', which really means "gay men and, oh, yeah, lesbians exist" and that really means "only the most 'nonthreatening' members of those groups".

That is not necessarily the case. You've been consistently implying it, but that doesn't make it the only valid interpretation of a "posted by an lgtb person" tag.

I think the queer folks who are comfortable with this should not be prevented from doing it by the queer folks who are not comfortable doing this.
posted by mediareport at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's really a great comment, hoyland, and over the course of this thread I've been strongly persuaded that all of the issues you're pointing to are very serious concerns. Even though you phrased it in a series of questions, I think within the context of the discussion those questions make very clear what those issues are.

As someone who doesn't identify as part of any of these groups, I don't want to presume by arguing for a position on this specific proposal. However, I think that most of the issues that have been raised and which you've clarified with your questions, are going to apply to pretty much every future such proposal. I've seen a lot of this discussion as a proxy for a discussion of these sort of theme months in general because, as this thread has so strongly demonstrated, the context of the women's theme months is unusually favorable (in relative terms).

I think we ought to keep in mind that not only is it the case that women's membership and participation on MeFi has been more proportionally representative than in this case, but also there's been years of hard community work to make MetaFilter a less hostile place for women. And it still can be pretty hostile! This proposal would be more like a women's theme month on MeFi back in 2002 than it's like the ones we've recently had. And such a theme month in 2002 would have had a lot of the issues we're discussing even though it still would have been the case that women made up a larger portion of the community.

The two fundamental problems, as I see them, are that the much lower representation in the community and the lack of a community-wide positive cultural change (toward awareness, sensitivity, and everything else) mean that any topical posts that are posted (as they rightly will be) are much more likely to be hostile and generally shitty threads that work against the presumptive goals of the theme month. But, also, the lower representation means that there's a much stronger concentration of the things involving implicit pressure to represent, implicit pressure to perform the identity, and all the things we've been discussing.

When you look at those two problems and see that they're far from trivial, they're pretty serious, then you have to ask yourself whether there's some longer-term, greater good that's being served. Maybe there is. But, alternatively, if we're not confident that we're going to achieve this good but we're willing to invite the bad things we're discussing, I think the objection to this as a feel-good thing by and for the relatively privileged is a powerful criticism.

All that said, I still end up tentatively falling on the "pro" side of this (this specific proposal as a, um, non-voting observer, but also on the general idea of such theme months as a community member and, yes, with regard to the few possible theme months that include my own identities) because I very much believe that the whole "greater diversity and visibility" thing is very important and a powerfully good thing for everyone (especially within these groups, but also the whole community) and I think that it's possible to ameliorate the issues that we're discussing. Since I think it's possible, I think we should give it a try, as long as we do so responsibly.

The last part is where I have a strong concern. Will we do this responsibility, with an effort to ameliorate these problem? First and foremost, Cortex is seeing this from the mod context as being pretty much like the previous theme months. That is to say, he made it clear that there wasn't some very strong moderator vigilance in those cases and we can't expect it in these cases. But, as I've already said, I think those previous months went as well as they did because the context was different. There isn't the community awareness and inclusiveness and such in this case -- well, with regard to LGB, maybe, and only a certain perspective within LGB. And being really good about discussion in threads about gay white men but being shitty in trans* threads is a very, very bad outcome. I'm not saying it's as bad as being shitty in all threads, but I think that an implicit message that MeFi is welcoming for only the already relatively privileged portion of a larger, marginalized community is a terrible message to send. Any topical threads under this tag will require moderator vigilance and, also, community vigilance. We have to flag and, those of us who are allies, have to be work very hard to be good allies. If we can't make a commitment to do this, then I think we shouldn't have such theme months.

And, secondly, there's simply no avoiding all the issues about implicit pressures to represent and perform identity. I don't see any real answer to this other than the slow process of community and society-wide change. Maybe someone has some suggested ways these things can be ameliorated, but as far as I can tell, they're an unavoidable cost. That may be a cost worth paying for some longer-term benefit. I think that in each case of a proposal for such a theme month, we ought to be listen very carefully to those who object to this cost and to think about how easy it is for those of us who won't have to bear the burden to argue in favor. I'm not saying that any objection should have veto power, but that it's damn important to take this sort of objection very seriously.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:29 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh god no not quiltbag. That's just awful.

*facepalm*
posted by zarq at 8:03 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like Mefi has some weirdness in general around visible self-identification, and the importance thereof. After having comments deleted that were harshly critical of the Israeli government, I was told by a mod that making it more explicit that I am Jewish might have resulted in a different moderation decision.

This text from the official, recently-posted #JuneByQueers MeTa thread struck me as odd in a similar sort of way-- "Pay attention to queer people’s comments in threads." I.e., the assumption that members will or should always be commenting qua their identities in a way that is explicit and identifiable. I guess I'm sort of talking about minor problems in the wording there-- I'd probably have written the same thought as "Digest thoughtfully and respectfully when a person identifying themselves as queer is commenting on a topic through the lens of their lived experience"-- but I find the way this manifests itself in general on MeFi interesting and important.
posted by threeants at 8:16 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


"If one is not asking for queer content and not asking posters to explain their queerness (eew), how do we know that 'visibility' isn't just 'visibility for cis gay men and lesbians'? (I'm assuming the word 'visiblity' will appear in an answer to at least one of the first three. And to be clear, the answer isn't "Well, bi and trans people can stop that being the case by posting"! Posters will be presumed to fit a certain kind of 'LGBT' (i.e. the HRC's mold).)"

Just for my own thinking on this, so don't feel like you have to answer it, but I wonder how you feel about the general political project of coming out, probably best exemplified by Harvey Milk's exhortations. I know that the issue can be more complicated for trans people, and at least superficially a lot of the pushback in the thread against a month of self-outing seems to be coming from people who identify under the trans umbrella. Don't feel like you have to answer this if you don't want to, but I'm not sure whether I'm seeing a real connection between the two issues or just a chimera.
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not speaking for trans people, but as a queer PoC, the coming out narrative is often destructively leveraged against us to demand that we align with Western values in discarding our cultures of origin in exchange for Western institutions of queerness. The coming out narrative is highly nationalistic in this respect, in which it is used to paint other cultures as barbaric and backwards for not conforming to Western expectations of visibility, ignoring that queerness may be enacted differently in these cultures. So the whole insistence around coming out is also harmful to PoC, as it's frequently used to turn us into political tools to drive nationalism and racism. I sometimes feel that people forget that coming out is not an universally accepted value but rather a historically-informed political choice. It can really feel like a microaggression when white people in queer communities try to relate to me on coming out stories.
posted by Conspire at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's safe to assume that people out as trans on Metafiler aren't afraid of being out, which is what you seem dangerously close to implying. Rather, I'd hazard that trans people have abundant experience with bearing the consequences of supposedly well-meaning projects and that's why you're seeing the "this is not a great idea trend".
posted by hoyland at 10:06 PM on May 12, 2015


Ok, so the concept of coming out and any implication that someone might not want to come out, both totally unacceptable then?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:25 PM on May 12, 2015


"It's safe to assume that people out as trans on Metafiler aren't afraid of being out, which is what you seem dangerously close to implying. Rather, I'd hazard that trans people have abundant experience with bearing the consequences of supposedly well-meaning projects and that's why you're seeing the "this is not a great idea trend"."

No, what I meant was that because the trans people I know personally have a much more ambiguous relationship with the concept of "out" than most of the lesbian or gay people I know, and because the political project of "out" (which is both credited with major political success as well as being used as a model for greater participation of trans people in mainstream society, e.g. Loraine Cox) and the notion of #JulybyLGBTQ are both connected through the notion of "visibility," and you were specifically pushing back against "visibility," and I wanted to ask whether that was because of underlying similarity or because of coincidence.

As for people on MeFi, I tend to assume the tautological: People who have shared whatever about their identity through an all-text persistent pseudonym are comfortable sharing with MeFi whatever they've shared about their identity. I'd wager that there are more than a handful out of the thousands of active members who aren't comfortable being out here, for any number of reasons, but that we can't (as a public community) know who those members are because they're not comfortable being out.
posted by klangklangston at 11:52 PM on May 12, 2015


#JunebyQueers MeTa.
posted by zarq at 1:14 AM on May 13, 2015


"Out" isn't q concept that makes much sense for a lot of trans people. I'm visibly trans. I can't "come out" in any meaningful way, people just look at me and that's that. The whole concept of "out/closeted" looks like a fairly luxurious problem to deal with - it's a for of agency I simply don't have.
posted by Dysk at 4:12 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


No, what I meant was that because the trans people I know personally have a much more ambiguous relationship with the concept of "out" than most of the lesbian or gay people I know, and because the political project of "out" (which is both credited with major political success as well as being used as a model for greater participation of trans people in mainstream society, e.g. Loraine Cox) and the notion of #JulybyLGBTQ are both connected through the notion of "visibility," and you were specifically pushing back against "visibility," and I wanted to ask whether that was because of underlying similarity or because of coincidence.

I'm still not comfortable with this line of questioning (or "wondering out loud", whatever you want to call it, but it's questioning). You've missed my point entirely, which is not that visibility is bad, but that any additional visibility from this tag is visibility for the queer people who are already the most accepted and who people think of when 'LGBT' gets mentioned, regardless of who does the posting. And yet the rest of us (which really includes anyone who isn't a middle class white gay cis man, albeit to varying degrees--yay intersectionality) are being told to feel good about doing the work and 'increasing visibility'.

(It's Laverne Cox, btw.)
posted by hoyland at 4:15 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


...and from my perspective, the problem with LGBT and quiltbag (ugh) isn't just their exclusivity - it's their inclusivity. It'd be like having a thing for 'gender minorities' that included cis women and was a a result 99% cis women - it's claiming a good deal more inclusivity than it practically represents, and it's claiming to represent groups that it doesn't necessarily, and certainly not as equal partners in the initiative.

Something says "LGBT" and you don't necessarily immediately think "oh, that's the gay men's club" even though it so often is. And so you might think that they'd be sensible people to talk to about trans issues, or ask them as an organisation to speak for people they don't represent, or think you're being much more widely inclusive than you are when dealing with them and as a result overlook doing anything to actually be inclusive of L, B, and particularly T people (and other gender and sexual minorities, though you'd at least not be thinking that they were represented necessarily, as you would for the groups in the acronym).
posted by Dysk at 4:37 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's safe to assume that people out as trans on Metafiler aren't afraid of being out

I am! Sort of. Just to use this as a jumping off point to expand on the concept of "outness" as it relates to trans people... I have complicated, often largely negative feelings about it. I speak up more out of frustration than anything. There's also this feeling like I'm on a bus that's going to a place I and a bunch of other people on the bus don't want to go, and unless I stand up and say, "Let's go in this other direction," we're all going to end up over the cliff at the Bad Place.

I'd be more than happy to just discard my trans "identity," but being "out" is a political necessity for trans people at this point in history. If you stand up and read your lines, you have a slim chance of the bus driver not taking all of us over the cliff. That's a very different concept of "visibility" or being "out" than most cis people are really willing to understand. It's not really something I believe is worth celebrating, either. There are often severe consequences for trans people being visible, with no real advantages beyond possibly giving your experiences slightly more validity in the eyes of people who will probably still dismiss your concerns (like securing basic needs, healthcare, having a right to legally exist in public, etc.) out of hand anyway.
posted by byanyothername at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think picking June has placed an unnecessary deadline on this idea.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:06 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am I, T, B, and Q. I was raised by and in community with Ls in many ways throughout my life, even though I tend to pass as a man. To me, the inclusiveness of QUILTBAG is actually really heartwarming.

One of the things I would like to suggest, having read this thread, is that identity, labeling and categorizing is best done by the people wearing and living those identities. I saw a not insignificant amount of discussion by potential outsiders of the minority communities discussed in this thread talking about categorizing the posts and the groups and the communities. My request is that those who are allies and outsiders stand aside let those of us inside the communities decide how we want to group or split ourselves and determine what we want to call ourselves.
posted by kalessin at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


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