#JunebyQueers May 12, 2015 6:13 PM   Subscribe

People of Metafilter, lend me your queers! #JuneByQueers is a sitewide initiative geared at increasing community and group-recognition among queer MeFites. It is motivated by a desire to engage, connect, and strengthen MeFi’s queer community from and among members of that community. If your identity is consistent with the term “queer,” and/or if you are not cis and straight, you are welcome and encouraged to participate. If you would really rather not, that’s entirely fine too.

Why “queers”? The debate for a properly inclusive term that can encompass a wide range of sexual and gender identities is decades old and still ongoing. Many feel that “queer” still retains derogatory connotations and prefer not to use it; on the other hand, the common use of acronyms like LGBT and QUILTBAG often leave members out, enforcing a sense of marginalization. Our desire is to celebrate diversity, to include, to demarginalize, and so we chose the most inclusive term commonly used.

We understand that even “queer” does not properly include all issues of intersectionality: It does not draw out differences in class, in ethnicity, in able/disability status. And we want to be explicit that our choice of the word “queer” is not meant to hide those issues.

This is an entirely optional initiative designed to allow queer-identified posters to recognize each other and feel a sense of solidarity with other posters in the community. If you are uncomfortable with participating, that’s fine too! But online sites like Metafilter are often a surprisingly accessible form of queer community for people who don’t always have access to other, more sheltered spaces, and in light of this we’d love to make it easier for queer posters to recognize each other while posting on the site.

Because there are fewer queer people currently participating on Metafilter than women (as in previous MonthByWomen efforts), our goal is very modest: to see 60 new fpps posted to the front page by queer-identified people during the month of June. If we get more than that, fabulous, but our goal is 60. That’s two posts per day by someone who IDs as some flavor of queer.

Many posters have shared concerns that this initiative will be seen as lumping the diversity of queer identities under a shared banner which be dominated by cis gay concerns and perspectives. With that in mind, we also optionally encourage people who would like to make it clear exactly how they identify to add an additional tag clarifying your primary identity--for example, “JuneByTrans” or “JuneByBisexual.” If this proposal makes you feel uncomfortable or if you do not feel that your identity can be accurately summed up by a single phrase, feel free to skip this and use the broader “ByQueers” tag only.

FAQ

What should posts be written about?

Anything you like. This is an initiative motivated by a desire to know what queer MeFites find cool! Bring your favorite niche interests to the party. Yes, even that really nerdy one that you think other people would find boring. I promise that SOMEONE will find it super cool.

What can straight/cis people do?

Pay attention to queer people’s comments in threads. Try very hard not to center conversations by and about queer people around yourself--that’s often very frustrating to us! If you see obviously problematic shit, please flag it. I promise the mods will not be offended and it helps to have moderator commentary in the thread to deal with.

While the tag is definitely about visibility, it’s not really about education, or a queer person having to answer questions posed by people not of their particular identity. We’d ask that everyone respect that when we’ve had big educational discussions in the past, it has been exhausting for some members, and limited their participation in threads. We want queer MeFites to feel engaged in conversation as participants, not as subjects.

I want to post a topic but I’m terrified. What now?

Post here! There are plenty of people here who are happy to cheerlead and help you frame a FPP so that it goes well on the main page. If you are worried about the possible places a discussion might go and you want to talk that out here and figure out framing, this is also a great place for that! One thing we as a community can do is pledge to back each other up and help each other encourage interesting, productive conversations to go as smoothly as we can.

Many thanks to mittens, who co-wrote this post with me.
posted by sciatrix to MetaFilter-Related at 6:13 PM (339 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

Oh that's great! This is so exciting! *spins around* 🎉
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:22 PM on May 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


I am totally happy to help people craft/edit/wordsmith posts if they are first-timers and could use a second set of eyes. My email is always open.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:49 PM on May 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


I am looking forward to floating luxuriously in a sea of amazing FPPs.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:43 PM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think it'd be a good idea to keep in mind the questions hoyland posed over in the other thread as additional/supplemental guidelines, as well as Ivan Fyodorovich's comment about doing this responsibly. It'd probably be best to answer them over there, if anyone is inclined, but it might be helpful to have them visible over here as reminders or prompts:

• 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?

posted by byanyothername at 7:45 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I identify as queer, was too busy to post in #MarchByWomen, but reading the previous thread on June made me think of a post I might actually want to put up next month (my 7th ever, if I get to it), so I guess I'm the kind of person who should speak up and say thanks for the friendly yet non-obligatory kick in the pants. Thanks!

I read through the concerns in the previous thread and was glad people voiced them but am also glad this thing is happening. Posting to the blue is (for me anyway) inherently performative, so I get the worry about performing queerness. but as a bisexual woman in a perceived-straight marriage (with all the admitted privileges that brings) worries about performing queerness are pretty much a given for me ever time I consider mentioning being queer to anyone ever, woooo.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:03 PM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think it'd be a good idea to keep in mind the questions hoyland posed

No, it isn't really necessary. If you think that offering a single optional tag requires answering six philosophical questions, then you are seriously overthinking Metafilter and life in general.
posted by saeculorum at 9:32 PM on May 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


saeculorum: "If you think that offering a single optional tag requires answering six philosophical questions, then you are seriously overthinking Metafilter and life in general."

...and you're you're the platonic ideal of a Metafilter poster.
posted by Bugbread at 9:38 PM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


No, it isn't really necessary. If you think that offering a single optional tag requires answering six philosophical questions, then you are seriously overthinking Metafilter and life in general.

Don't worry, people have already told us we're thinking to hard in the other thread. You're not making some brilliant new point.
posted by hoyland at 9:51 PM on May 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Anyone who would like a second set of eyes or just some cheerleading, my MefiMail is open. I can be very enthusiastic and supportive!
posted by Deoridhe at 10:39 PM on May 12, 2015


I understand that this is moving forward, but wanted to give a shout out to hoyland and Conspire and others who raised important concerns in the previous thread, and to encourage people to be thoughtful about the posting and the comments.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:05 PM on May 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yay! So glad this is going ahead. JulyByWomen was such a good prompt for me, and like deludingmyself I can feel invisible sometimes as a bi woman when I'm in a relationship with a man, so I am super looking forward to June.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:57 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a little disappointing. There was a hell of a lot left unaddressed in the other thread, and worthwhile discussions still being had.

...and while "queer" is effectively reclaimed, "queers" leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
posted by Dysk at 4:15 AM on May 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


As a datapoint, we've had mail from a member who feels pretty upset by the idea of a "queer" and/or "queers" tag, and they relate years of physical abuse attached to the use of the word, and dread the idea of seeing it used on the site this way. I'm just mentioning it to say that the term may not be as universally reclaimed as it might seem to many.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:48 AM on May 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Yeah, count me among the disappointed. With just under three weeks until June, this was absolutely not a time-sensitive matter that needed to be announced right now as is, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.
posted by Etrigan at 4:57 AM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


It'd probably be best to answer them over there, if anyone is inclined...

Why? Why not here?
posted by zarq at 5:24 AM on May 13, 2015


...because it's generally best to address someone when responding to their questions or concerns rather than soapboxing about it in a different venue or forum. It comes across as much less dismissive, and gives them a chance to see and respond to how their concerns are being addressed. It makes it a conversation rather than giving a vibe of aloofness and not wanting to talk to THAT person about it because ugh, they'll just complain again and who really cares about their opinion anyway.

I mean, I know that's not what anyone would intend by splitting the conversation, but it's hard to get away from coming across like that.
posted by Dysk at 5:38 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am an outsider to this initiative. I fall under none of the LGBTQ+ categories. The only thing I would normally do is cheer folks on from the sidelines and offer assistance. And I'm truly, sincerely thrilled to be able to do that.

But many of the concerns you and others raised in the first thread are not really being answered. I honestly don't know if they're resolvable. But this post seems like an attempt to do an end run around those who had legitimate concerns about this initiative, and that doesn't seem fair or in the spirit of inclusivity. And I don't think a superficial head nod towards acknowledged issues is all that great.
posted by zarq at 5:56 AM on May 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yeah, this thread and its timing have not exactly left me more positively disposed toward the initiative than I was before...
posted by Dysk at 6:04 AM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Count me in as someone not only surprised this is happening full speed when the prior conversation didn't really successfully address a lot of the concerns--coming from people under the umbrella--and was actively hostile and stonewalled in places, but that it seems mostly headed up by those who don't identify (? maybe I'm wrong about that though) and seems to be ignoring the more neutral suggestions for terminology (pride and rainbow were both brought up yet the LGBT thing wouldn't die towards the end of that previous thread) and using "queers" in a vaguely jokey cavalier way which, ick (and I say this personally as someone who loves the reclaimed term "queer" but would not presume for someone else it's ok).
posted by ifjuly at 6:52 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nthing the WTF about this happening so suddenly. I feel like it's been a not-so-good last week or so for MetaFilter in general, and the previous MeTa doesn't seem to have come even remotely close to resolving itself. If anything, it became even more contentious in the last several days, and the relatively quick contrarian threadshitting here doesn't bode well at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree; this thread seems rushed in a way almost guaranteed to cause more problems overall.
posted by jaguar at 7:05 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


And for the mods: I don't get why this thread even got approved. The other thread's still on the front page, and discussion was still active.
posted by jaguar at 7:08 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Dysk: "...and while "queer" is effectively reclaimed, "queers" leaves a foul taste in my mouth."

It's sort of funny to me that I'm seeing this thread only a day or so after seeing queer-identified people on another community website wonder aloud if straight trans women are really "queer enough to reclaim queer".
posted by these are science wands at 7:09 AM on May 13, 2015


2 cents from another outsider/well-wisher. I loved and benefited from the MonthByWomen efforts. But this effort is alienating a lot of members even before it's out of the gate. Creating posts is supposed to be a positive thing, not a negative thing. It seems like there's every reason to put it on hold in order to address these questions and concerns.

(And if they don't get resolved and it doesn't go forward, I'd much rather prefer that than have members alienated from the site.)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:30 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Perhaps my earlier enthusiasm was misplaced but I absolutely loved this post as presented. However, it seems the timing is a problem (announced too soon, as covered above).

As far as resolving issues, I don't think those _can_ be resolved ahead of the month going forward; the issues are such that they remain obstacles to something positive being implemented. Just my two cents, and I am an outsider looking in.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:32 AM on May 13, 2015


It's sort of funny to me that I'm seeing this thread only a day or so after seeing queer-identified people on another community website wonder aloud if straight trans women are really "queer enough to reclaim queer".

I dunno how addressed to me this is, but I would like the record to state that I am absolutely not straight.
posted by Dysk at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2015


the issues are such that they remain obstacles to something positive being implemented. Just my two cents, and I am an outsider looking in.

Speaking as someone who is not an outsider, the issues are such that they render the thing not positive at all.
posted by Dysk at 7:40 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dysk: "I dunno how addressed to me this is, but I would like the record to state that I am absolutely not straight."

Following on from your point, not disagreeing with it. Despite queer's origin being arguably transmisogynistic, there are people within queer-as-a-culture who believe trans women who love men are not radical enough to reclaim the slur. Queers-as-a-group-identity often seems like it excludes some of the very people most often targeted by queer-as-a-slur.
posted by these are science wands at 7:40 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


So, a few notes on the writing of this post, on its timing, and on the initiative as a whole. I'm going to preface this by reiterating that this comment is entirely about myself and my own feelings, since this discussion has taught me that enough people are hurting and upset and feeling defensive that we really, really need the disclaimer. You get to do and feel as you like about it.

This post was written and in the queue either before or at about the same time as hoyland posted their excellent list of points, after which time I had no control over it. I certainly saw that comment after it had been submitted, but didn't comment further either here or in the other thread because I'd actually felt the post stood for itself on all or almost all of the points raised. Clearly that is not an opinion shared by the site at large, so let me explain where I was coming from on that feeling with a point-by-point response to each question:

• What is the objective of a theme month?
To promote recognition and let people stand up as queer members of the Metafilter community. To let people know we're here. That's it.

• 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.)
It lets us stand up and be counted and sends a signal to other posters that we're here. That's it. It lets us know who our people are. I think that's a powerful thing to do all on its own; clearly not many people agree.

• 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.)
It doesn't. It's not intended to. It's intended to let us recognize each other, if we'd like to stand up and be counted. My goals here are so much smaller than people seem to think; to me, the only point of this initiative is to say "Hey, I'm here. Look, you're not the only one here." The idea that this theme month is somehow supposed to fix all the problems Metafilter has with respect to heterosexism and inter-queer politicking is frankly pretty hilarious to me. Of course it's never going to meet those goals, because those goals are impossible. And they move all the goddamn time.

• 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).)
That would be exactly what I had in mind by encouraging an optional additional tag designed to let people say where exactly they're coming from. It struck me that people might not feel comfortable with that, so I took pains to explain that it was optional, as was the entire initiative.

• How does Metafilter prevent the theme month from backfiring and placing additional burdens on already marginalized groups?
I am not sure how this month could backfire, to be honest. When I was posting to the front page more regularly, frankly, Blue Jello Elf and I probably could carry this goal all on our own. I tried to take pains to minimize expectations here, but I suppose the hype built up by WomensMarch and JulyByWomen are acting against the initiative here. I don't see the harm of encouraging more people to post about anything they like. I don't see the harm in getting more people involved in communities I'm part of. The only harm I can see comes from enthusiasm and puffery about how great the initiative will be and how great other posts will be, and I tried to head that off in the original post; clearly, I was unsuccessful.

• (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?
This is such a leading question, and I have so many problems with the second half. With respect to the first--it explicitly says "you're welcome, talk to me, I'm like you" to queer members of the community who may find posting intimidating. And the person speaking should be imagined as a real queer person, goddammit, not a straight person. More on the second half later.

The "Queers" language was chosen in response to comments made in the previous thread about LGBTQ being a frustrating piece of language when it is sometimes under-inclusive (with people being left out of the acronym, which, hi) and also when it is sometimes over-inclusive (with people who are explicitly named in the acronym feeling that it gets used all the time when no one is actually discussing their concerns or identities at all). I actually have similar feelings about QUILTBAG, which has the added issue that because it is a rather new term which is primarily used in specific communities people often do not initially know what it means. I could probably write a book about my complex feelings about the assorted acronyms, honestly, and about the entire "the A stands for Asexual" discussion that I see in increasing numbers on the internet these days.

I chose to avoid both Pride and Rainbow because of the frequent and constant criticisms that this initiative would exist to promote queer content and because I wanted to highlight the author-centered nature of the initiative by including the word 'by' in the tag. I know that "queer" is not a term which everyone feels comfortable with, and I tried to make room for that feeling in the main post. Clearly I did not state that explicitly enough. That said, I don't think there is a single term I could have used which wouldn't have come under criticism by someone. There is no single monolithic queer/lgbtq/quiltbag/gsm/dsg/alphabet soup community. There are many smaller communities, each composed of people who have different experiences and different sore spots and different hurts and different pet peeves caused by seeing terms used in a variety of different positive and negative contexts.

I am a recovering perfectionist--that is, my initial response to any criticism is to try to find a way to acknowledge it and incorporate it into the final product, and to fall all over myself trying to come up with one thing to do that is above criticism. I say recovering because despite many lessons that nothing is above criticism I haven't managed to quash this impulse yet. And the thing is, there's a cost to listening to criticism and trying to incorporate it into a finished product; there's a cost to stretching yourself and trying to be many things at once and all things to all people, even for a project with very minimal explicit goals. There's a cost to looking at your flaws and dwelling on them and trying to minimize them, and it's a cost that leads to being paralyzed by indecision. One of the things that initially drew me to this site was a feeling that it was okay to do imperfect but well-meaning things, and the past week has been really drumming into me that this isn't necessarily true.

I'd like to ask another question of the people criticizing this initiative as a whole: is this an opportunity for you to stand around and back-pat about how you're great allies, backing up critics? I ask this because I feel like there's a current of, oh, "the people advocating for this don't understand how much it could hurt, they don't have skin in the game, they don't bear the costs of any of this and the ones who are queer are the most privileged kinds of queer in the community" and that's just not fucking true. To the point that when I tried to explain how really, no, I know those potential costs intimately and it hurt to have that erased, I got told I was just trying to shut other people down. I think that framing this whole thing in the context of straight people standing around patting themselves on the back is poisonous and exhausting and it makes me, as a person who is not historically welcome in queer spaces and who just fucking got over having panic attacks about entering them offline and who was literally just starting to relax about that here--I think that it has its own costs about who gets to talk about community issue here.

I am so, so tired right now. I hold deep to my heart the principle that doing something, however imperfect, is better than doing nothing at all about a problem. This is especially true when my perception is that there is no perfect thing that any one person could do to improve a situation, which is a situation I've been in a whole bunch of times in a whole bunch of contexts over the last decade. This discussion has left me completely heartsick, and in the context of having to also console my partner through suddenly discovering an additionally contentious MeTa thread about their first FPP... well, I'm feeling more than a little sore about this community right now. I'll be taking a step back from both this thread and also the community for a while, because I think I've gotten a little overinvested in a way that is not healthy.

And as one parting comment--frankly, ifjuly, I think being told that I'm somehow a straight person is the worst
thing I've had targeted at me in this whole discussion. I'm not sure if you realize what a loaded thing that is to level at someone who doesn't identify as cis gay, and especially someone who identifies as asexual, but that's the parting shot that has me completely fucking done. So. I'm out for a few weeks, and I won't be posting to anything for a while yet.
posted by sciatrix at 8:27 AM on May 13, 2015 [41 favorites]


I wrote to sciatrix a couple days ago because I wanted to support her after how much she'd put a lot of her personal self out there in the discussion and, also, I ended up saying a lot of the things I later wrote in the comment of mine linked above. She wrote me back yesterday and said that she and another mefite had looked very closely at those concerns and when they collaborated on this post, they made a concerted effort to be sensitive to and address them.

More importantly, Cortex and, I think, another mod had posted at least twice toward the end of the thread basically saying "sounds like people have reservations but think this is a good idea" and "this is community-initiated, it doesn't require our approval" (those aren't actual quotes but paraphrases). I think that strongly gave a "go ahead and finalize this" vibe.

I, personally, agree that this post was premature.

But given sciatrix's repeatedly demonstrated diligence in listening to and discussing these concerns, and that she and another mefite (both are LGBTQIA) worked hard to include those concerns in this post, and that the mods had signaled what I think was "go ahead", I really feel like we should be kind to sciatrix for this post and see it in the best possible light. Again, I agree that it was premature and people (not including me, but people with an actual stake) needed to spend some more time hashing out these issues and, especially, the hashtag to use.

On preview: I see sciatrix has posted. I'm upset about this because I think that sciatrix is among the very best of the more prolific mefites that have joined in the last couple of years. I really don't want her to be made to feel unwelcome and, also, I think this post should have been held in the queue -- it's the mods job to have a larger perspective and to have anticipated that people would feel that the post would be premature and that they'd question the tag and, generally, there'd be some hurt feelings and what's likely to be another contentious MeTa on exactly the same topic as one posted just a week previously. I don't really think stuff should be held up in the queue or denied posting, as a rule, but this is one of those times where it would have been better for everyone if it had been.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:41 AM on May 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


I have nothing useful to say about the subject of this Meta, and I appreciate why you need a break, but I hope you find your way to coming back, sciatrix. I've really appreciated your presence here.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


(both are LGBTQIA)

I get what you're trying to say, but that is not a good way of doing it, unless both mefites in question actually identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex, AND asexual. Which would be... unlikely, in light of sciatrix explicitly disclaiming gay. They may be some of those things, but they are not all of those things, not necessarily representative or representing all of the communities described in the acronym.

This is exactly the sort of over-inclusivity that I have posted about in this or the other thread.
posted by Dysk at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


> And as one parting comment--frankly, ifjuly, I think being told that I'm somehow a straight person is the worst
thing I've had targeted at me in this whole discussion. I'm not sure if you realize what a loaded thing that is to level at someone who doesn't identify as cis gay, and especially someone who identifies as asexual, but that's the parting shot that has me completely fucking done.


I apologize; I certainly did not mean to hurt you and am sorry I have. Not that it matters, but I didn't intend to single you out when I voiced that concern--it was also residual unease with the tail end of the previous discussion (and btw, JCIFA, I super duper appreciate your kindness and self-awareness whenever the issue of "do you have a stake in this" comes up and you support people for caring about that, or mention you don't explicitly, and you get that), not just you posting this new thread. I will maintain that I take issue with this mentality, and wasn't thrilled about that antagonistic aspect of how that came across in the previous thread either:

I'd like to ask another question of the people criticizing this initiative as a whole: is this an opportunity for you to stand around and back-pat about how you're great allies, backing up critics? I ask this because I feel like there's a current of, oh, "the people advocating for this don't understand how much it could hurt, they don't have skin in the game, they don't bear the costs of any of this and the ones who are queer are the most privileged kinds of queer in the community" and that's just not fucking true. To the point that when I tried to explain how really, no, I know those potential costs intimately and it hurt to have that erased, I got told I was just trying to shut other people down.

I think, as hoyland kind of pointed out in the earlier thread, it would be good if you could extend that "I'm coming from a place of hurt, not callousness or disingenuity" to the people who aren't as on board. It is hurtful (and generally well trod tired ground, not from you but in general with any sort of identity and social justice stuff) to hear you imply people who are uneasy about this are on some level not earnest about that but trying to score brownie points. I don't doubt that you have intimately thought through this stuff. I can appreciate that and still disagree with your final assessment, and see that not everybody shares your perspective...and your anger in the earlier thread and here about the fact people disagree with you frankly does upset me, because there's an undercurrent that your perspective is the most valid and disagreeing with it is a personal attack that will be met with anger. I am trying in the politest way possible, and struggling and probably failing, to convey that there was a sense of single-minded or self-focus/absorbed element to a lot of what I read in the previous discussion. Can you not see how if how this has played out thus far has been disheartening to somebody who, like you, has skin in the game, that antagonistic response just feels like further illustration of the problem? People's unease about this is not really about you.

I have probably messed up trying to explain my discomfort with how these conversations have played out this week. And I am obviously not nearly as active a contributing member as you or many of the other great folks who have taken the time to talk this through. I am aware it's probably goofy for me to even be trying to say anything. I hope I have clarified where I'm coming from with this some but I fear I may be making it worse. I will bow out of this now unless for some reason someone wishes to further engage with me, but I doubt that's likely. Again, I am sorry you are hurt and I hope you come back.
posted by ifjuly at 9:18 AM on May 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


sciatrix, come back!
posted by mochapickle at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really feel like we should be kind to sciatrix for this post and see it in the best possible light.

Yes this. How hard is it really?
posted by marxchivist at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I hold deep to my heart the principle that doing something, however imperfect, is better than doing nothing at all about a problem.

I understand not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, but it may be worth questioning if what you're proposing actually clears the bar for 'good'.


If all this is supposed to acheive is visibility for those that want it, couldn't that be accomplished with a "hey fellow queer to mefites, sound off if you want to" meta thread?
posted by Dysk at 9:25 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm really trying not to pick a fight and I know the intentions are nothing but good here. sciatrix and mittens this is not meant as a shot at you.

This post really read to me as a unified effort that is coming from the site itself as if the site is a person, or a large group of people unified in this effort and the language. I think I understand who the "we" is in the text, but it did read as a larger "we" to me. That bothered me. Examples:

#JuneByQueers is a sitewide initiative...
We understand that even “queer”...


I get that the site is the members here but this feels like it's coming from some site authority.

This is an entirely optional initiative designed...If you are uncomfortable with participating, that’s fine too!

This adds to the earlier thought. EVERYTHING here is optional. Pointing out that this piece is as well makes it sound to me like this is coming from someone who gets to decide for me that this is optional. The mods and site policy are the only ones who get to decide what I can and can't do with the site.

Many posters have shared concerns that this initiative will be seen as lumping the diversity of queer identities under a shared banner which be dominated by cis gay concerns and perspectives. With that in mind, we also optionally...

This feels like there is a "we" and there is the other "many members".

I cherry picked a few there but the whole text read that way to me.

Go forth and post and use whatever tags you like. I have no beef with people using whatever language to identify themselves. I just don't like being told that I am a part of "we" or the "many posters". I'm thrilled to be another in this big pile of different people from different backgrounds sharing cool links and good discussion.

I hope this goes well and breaks whatever barriers people have with hitting the post button.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'd like to ask another question of the people criticizing this initiative as a whole: is this an opportunity for you to stand around and back-pat about how you're great allies, backing up critics?

I love the idea of this initiative. I think it's great, and when it goes live I will happily support it from the sidelines. I'll favorite posts I like and flag 'em as fantastic. Put myself out there if anyone needs post construction help. Encourage people to make their first posts. Etc. If you noticed, I tried to do that in the other thread, when I posted some friendly advice to mochapickle about making posts.

There were multiple issues raised with the concept in the original thread before Hoyland posted his six points. Which would be before you and mittens submitted this post to the queue. Unless I'm mistaken, they hadn't been completely dealt with and no consensus had been reached, if one were even possible. There was a public discussion in progress that was about 8 days old, and this post bypasses that.

And yes, it should be okay for any of us to point that out. As I said in the other thread, we shouldn't need to pass a "queer enough" litmus test to comment here. Not if we're noting that previously raised concerns still aren't resolved. I'm pretty sure acknowledging 'em is also better than ignoring them or encouraging people to move on without resolution.

That was not and is not intended as a personal slight to you. I'm truly sorry you interpreted criticism of your post in that way, but I did not ever make this personal.

Also: By noting that there were unresolved issues, I was not (and am not) "patting myself on the back." Nor was I consciously attempting to be a "good ally." (A good mefite, maybe? At least, that was my intent.) I'm voicing my feelings on the matter as an active member of this site while noting up front that I'm also an outsider, out of concern that an initiative is being presented to the community without having first had some rough spots worked out. That's how things like this are usually handled in MeTa.

who gets to talk about community issue here.

We do. All of us. LGBTQ+ or not. Because we're members of this community.

Those of us who aren't going to be directly represented by this initiative have a responsibility to make sure we don't crowd out the voices of those who will. But I'm sorry, as far as I'm concerned, that doesn't mean we should shut up and not contribute at all to the discussion under any circumstances.

So. I'm out for a few weeks, and I won't be posting to anything for a while yet.

I am sorry to hear that. :(
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd like to ask another question of the people criticizing this initiative as a whole: is this an opportunity for you to stand around and back-pat about how you're great allies, backing up critics?

A lot of the people criticizing this initiative are not "allies", they are part of the community you want to serve/represent.

I personally am frustrated with a lot in your comment. It contains a lot of guilt tripping and that feels manipulative to me. I feel like your personalization is inappropriate for a site-wide initiative. I know it feels very personal, but it needs to not be personal. People need to be able to comment and respond within reason, without then being made responsible for your emotional state. This community is generally caring. I know that hoyland and I both regretted misreading you and apologized, and I feel like people have mostly been charitable. But it feels like you think it is reasonable to treat disagreement as an attack, and yourself as an injured party. That's simply not the case.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:55 AM on May 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


Why? Why not here?

Separate threads, I figured. This one for logistics, the other one for the why-and-wherefores. It looks like this one became round 2 of the other one, though, so. I guess we're just doing double vision now. And:

As a datapoint, we've had mail from a member who feels pretty upset by the idea of a "queer" and/or "queers" tag, and they relate years of physical abuse attached to the use of the word, and dread the idea of seeing it used on the site this way. I'm just mentioning it to say that the term may not be as universally reclaimed as it might seem to many.

Thanks for this. "Queer" is...actually still a pretty strong pejorative, in my part of the world. I am a little uncomfortable with the way it's been...utilized in white middle-class US LGB culture. I have used it to self-describe in a joking way, but I have complicated feelings about using it in a broad or serious sense. I understand how it's being used here, so I'm mostly okay with that, but my associations are similarly negative. Which is maybe illustrative of some of the bigger problems: we don't actually have a complete consensus even within just LGBTQ people on a lot of things, let alone the general userbase.
posted by byanyothername at 10:01 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think picking June, as refenced in the prior post: "Seeing as next month is Pride in much of the country" has placed an unnecessary deadline on this idea.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:05 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If all this is supposed to acheive is visibility for those that want it, couldn't that be accomplished with a "hey fellow queer to mefites, sound off if you want to" meta thread?

Many, many more people read the blue than the grey. Especially readers who aren't members; this is the sort of thing that a kid in Nowheresville could notice and go "oh hey wow, there are people who are like me who also like exhaustive investigations into the history of mayonnaise!"

I'm supporting this.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:11 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Point, though I'd question how many casual readers pay particular attention to the tags on FPPs. I know I don't.
posted by Dysk at 10:20 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I personally don't like "queer" because it is to me, like it is to the anonymous commenter taz cited, too evocative of adolescent bullying. That may be generational, though, and I recognize that some people embrace it and revel in its reclamation, so whatever. I accept its use, though I would never refer to myself that way.

That said, I think I'm more bothered by the #JunebyQueers thing being repeatedly referred to as an "initiative." I'm having a hard time articulating why. I mean, this is not some undertaking that's going to completely change the way "queers" interact with the site, or the way cis-het members interact with the "queers," or anything approaching that level of political importance. It's just, hey, post some cool things and self-identify if you want to. Which, after reading the other thread, holds a lot of inherent tension for some folks, so the whole thing is elevated and escalated beyond a simple "hey, post some cool things and self-identify if you want to."

The whole plan is problematic, and those problems/tensions are nowhere near resolved. It feels like this is being pushed through by folks who don't share that tension -- who aren't personally bothered by it and therefore think it's a nonissue. That bugs me. And it bugs me that it's being billed as an "initiative." That makes it sound like much more of an official act than it actually is, and it smacks of self-importance, and it seems (to me) to be a slap in the fact to the people who have tried very hard to explain why they have some discomfort with the idea.

In sum: I don't like the queer blanket, but others are okay with it and think it's sufficiently inclusive, so okay. "Initiative" is what really turns my stomach.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:22 AM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'd guess cortex or pb have/could run some numbers on how often tags get clicked, divided by members vs non-members.

hint
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:22 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


(P.S.: My comment is not directed at any individual, and certainly not sciatrix. Wanted to make sure that's clear, in case it wasn't.)
posted by mudpuppie at 10:23 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd guess cortex or pb have/could run some numbers on how often tags get clicked, divided by members vs non-members.

We probably don't have that level of detail logged anywhere in terms of traffic actions; in any case, clicking of tags would only be a really rough approximation of the totally unmeasurable reading of tags, if that was gonna be a metric for anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not have a dog in this fight, but I think it's a little weird that this is kind of coming forward in proclaiming a new thread when there was already an existing thread talking about whether this and whether it was a good idea or not. It comes off as trying to start something new without the existing criticisms.
posted by corb at 10:26 AM on May 13, 2015


Leaving aside any other criticisms for the moment, #QueerJune or #RainbowJune would be a way better way to phrase this, IMHO.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:35 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hm. I didn't get to the end of the previous thread, so don't take my initial enthusiasm above as dumping on anyone's concerns. I appreciate any bump towards more people reaching the activation energy to post that seems to be sparked by the #MonthBy initiatives (and yeah, I just saw mudpuppie's comment on that word, but I'm searching for a better synonym and coming up blank - I've been thinking of these as community initiatives, but if you've got a better phrase, suggest it), but I'm sorry to see that this idea is quite so fraught.

For my own part, I guess I'll post the post I have in mind next month regardless of how/if this stuff gets tagged. I'm feeling a little weird about the in-community concerns being the potential barrier to why we might not have a Metafilter-wide visibility month like with #bywomen, but at the same time I'm glad the site is a place where people feel comfortable voicing those concerns here. It's a weird conflicting set of feelings, tbh.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:36 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie: "I personally don't like "queer" because it is to me, like it is to the anonymous commenter taz cited, too evocative of adolescent bullying."

Not just adolescent bullying. As a trans woman, the worst experiences of verbal and physical abuse I've had are during the time when I was transitioning; being someone not consistently parsed as a woman but visibly, obviously CAMAB, queer was just one of the things I had yelled at me by total strangers in the street. Something I see again when I spend time with other trans women who are still in that period of their lives. Something some trans women can never, ever escape.

It's a violent, brutal word. It is more than a little upsetting to have it force-teamed on me by people who have never experienced transmisogyny.
posted by these are science wands at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


How about #UmbrellaJune? 'Under the _____ umbrella' is a term I've heard, and I think seen here in the previous thread. Avoids any concerns about partially-reclaimed words (as in, reclaimed for some and not for others), and is inclusive in a way that LGBT/QUILTBAG/OMGWTFBBQ isn't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


"It feels like this is being pushed through by folks who don't share that tension -- who aren't personally bothered by it and therefore think it's a nonissue."

That's certainly not true about sciatrix -- she's talked some about herself and her identity, but I think in several respects she's very much among those for whom these objections are relevant and, more importantly, she described in the other thread some examples where she's felt this stuff. So I think it's pretty clear that she shares the concerns and has a personal stake in them. She just thinks that some of those issues can be addressed and that the overall benefit makes it worth it. Other people disagree.

It's possible and, really, likely that some of the other people who are very in favor of this are not, in fact, among those who have direct experience with the stuff expressed by those with concerns. And, more generally -- and this is partly in answer to one of the things that really upset sciatrix that she mentions in her comment -- I think that inevitably as this is a visible, community-wide thing that will, say, be sidebarred (as the previous theme months were), a lot of the people who will support it enthusiastically will be cishet folk with no stake in it at all and as a feel-good, we're so inclusive thing that I think is pretty problematic given the concerns that have been raised. Now, that's not at all the case about sciatrix or pretty much most of the other people in the other thread who've endorsed the proposal -- but were it to go ahead, I think that will partly be the result.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:02 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been slightly baffled by the hostility to this idea, and will be participating.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:35 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't want to diminish anyone's feelings or their identification with the issues we're discussing. But, for example, the intersection of asexuality with other communities and identities more commonly identified with the "LGBT" "umbrella" is, in fact, one of the tensions that underlies why this whole initiative is more of a high-wire act than well-meaning allies might appreciate.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have been trying all day to decide whether it would be either right or useful to chime in further on the thread. But setting aside every other issue, I just want to say, if "queer" is a term that causes people distress, I don't want to use it. Every argument for its use ("it's inclusive! it's reclaimed!") withers, in the face of people being hurt by it.

I have adopted it myself, because years and years ago, when I was first coming to terms in a real way with my identity, people I loved and respected used the word freely, aggressively, shockingly, as a way to push against the culture so insistent on marginalizing and fencing us in. I remember the first time I used the word in a presentation in front of straight people, the uncomfortable silence that filled the room, the nice straight ladies coming up to me and saying that's not the right word, you should say gay and lesbian--in their politeness simply erasing me from existence.

That has been ages ago. The word has lost its power to shock straight people, but it has not lost its power to hurt people, and my reclamation of it for my own use, does not mean I can apply it to anyone else without their consent.

So I just want to say that I'm sorry to anyone who was pained by the word. I'd argued for its inclusion on the post. I bear responsibility for that. All the good intentions about inclusion in the world, don't matter, if I'm using a word that for you expresses hatred and harm.
posted by mittens at 11:42 AM on May 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


And for the mods: I don't get why this thread even got approved. The other thread's still on the front page, and discussion was still active.

Because we approve most Metatalk threads, and someone making a go of starting up a fresh discussion of logistics for a community proposal is an okay thing to do, basically. I chatted with restless_nomad at about it when saw it come in, chewed on it a little bit in terms of what might or might not be a point of objection, and decided that in the spirit of talking stuff out letting this go up as a user's regroup/draft that would then get discussed more would be okay.

Community organization of stuff can be bumpy, but it's one of the things Metatalk is for, and talking out what folks do and don't variously like about aspects of a "how about this?" take on an idea seems okay. Approving the metatalk post isn't a 100% endorsement of the framing and content of the post, it's just us letting people talk about it and try and have a fresh shot and talking about some of the logistics in addition to the existing long discussion about broader issues related to it that have come up in the initial What If thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2015


Also, something that has been niggling me a little - this project is being cast as both analogous to the women's March and July by women projects, and as having visibility be its goal. But going back and skimming the metas for those two reveals that the point was not increased visibility for women on Mefi - it was to encourage more women to post, as they were disproportionately less likely to post. I'm not convinced it's a great tool for visibility (and certainly not without its problems, even if it does acheive that aim) or that queer mefites are disproportionately unlikely to post FPPs to begin with.

It seems to me like the idea that this is a great tool and ideas for visibility as established by women's March/July by women is prevalent in this thread and the other on the subject, when in fact those two established no such thing as they had very different aims.
posted by Dysk at 11:51 AM on May 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


"...and someone making a go of starting up a fresh discussion of logistics for a community proposal is an okay thing to do, basically."

"Fresh" only eight days after the other MeTa post, a thread where there was still active discussion about terminology and logistics?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:05 PM on May 13, 2015


Yes? Multiple posts talking about general subject in one and trying to work out logistics in the other in general proximity for a community-driven project isn't an oddity. It's okay to feel like there's stuff that still needs to be worked out before logistics can be nailed down, and okay to say that, but it's also okay for someone to want to make that second post. This is just Metatalk, not some kind of highly-structured parliamentary process or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:09 PM on May 13, 2015


this is the sort of thing that a kid in Nowheresville could notice and go "oh hey wow, there are people who are like me who also like exhaustive investigations into the history of mayonnaise!"

I don't think MetaFilter is a very welcoming place for queer kids in Nowheresville, though, TBH. Working on that as a community would be a good thing; if this helps work on that, then it could be helpful, but I worry that what will happen is that LG people and cishet supporters--with some scattered B, T, A and I folks--will make an effort to participate in the spirit of the idea, but the site won't really become more aware of itself re: LGBT people/issues, and so those isolated, afraid-to-post people we want to draw in will have a good experience reading the comments of their mayonnaise thread, but continue to have bad experiences reading threads that pertain more to their identity and issues. I also worry that the alignment with US Pride and the nature of the tag/project/whatever will push for more threads about LGBT issues, and so contribute to a hostile environment for the folks we want to support here.

Also, I feel like I should say: I wanted to be pretty supportive of this thread as the place where logistics get worked out, even though I'm very much on the fence about the whole idea. That it's turned into where we left off in the previous thread is...I dunno. I'm not sure how much of that is, "we still have a lot of unresolved issues and concerns about this idea," and how much is, "Forget it, Jake. It's MetaTalk." And it is worth recognizing that a lot of people disagreeing are all somewhere on a LGBTQAI* spectrum, or allies of same. That those of us under the umbrella can't even reach a consensus is, again, probably indicative of why it's not a great idea for the site at this time.
posted by byanyothername at 12:14 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


How about #UmbrellaJune? 'Under the _____ umbrella' is a term I've heard, and I think seen here in the previous thread. Avoids any concerns about partially-reclaimed words (as in, reclaimed for some and not for others), and is inclusive in a way that LGBT/QUILTBAG/OMGWTFBBQ isn't.

So, the problem here is that L people, G people, B people, T people, Q people, I people, A people -- and all of the other people represented by those collections of letters -- have faced, and will face, completely different, distinct, and unique challenges. The challenges I've faced as an L are so incredibly different from the challenges someone faces as a T that they aren't really even analogous in any way, other than the very simplistic fact that for each of us those challenges are based on our sexuality.

I'll admit that I forget this sometimes. It is so easy for me to use the words "us" and "we," with what feels like authority, when talking about "gay issues." I am wrong to do that. I cannot adequately represent the concerns of trans people or asexual people because I am not trans or asexual and I have no freaking idea what it's like to be trans or asexual. Yet we're all still seen as sitting here under the same big metaphorical umbrella, while in a lot of cases we don't really have very much in common.

There's the problem with a themed month for LGBTQA+ posts/posters/issues/visibility. As well-meaning as it is -- and I'm not in any way suggesting that the intentions behind it aren't 100% awesome -- the umbrella is an illusion. It's a false representation, and it is somehow ultimately exclusionary while claiming to be inclusionary. You start trying to construct a theme around that illusory umbrella and you're going to have a bunch of different people telling you how the umbrella looks and feels from the inside, and those viewpoints aren't going to match each other, and then social chaos will break out because, wait, you're all standing under the umbrella and we're just trying to honor you/support you why are you making this so difficult?!

I don't know what the solution is in regard to this proposal. I just think it needs to be acknowledged that it's nowhere near as clean-cut as an effort to encourage women to post for a month. It's not that women are a homogenous group, cause they (er, we) certainly aren't. But women, as a group, have a whole lot more shared experience than do LGBTQA+ people, as a group. You can't just stick all of those pieces together with bubble gum and expect it to result in a perfectly formed sphere. It's not all as nice and neat as that.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


See, but what I don't get is - ok, so it isn't neat. The experiences aren't universal. People under the queer/whatever umbrella have different challenges and experiences.

But why does that mean this is a bad idea? Why does saying "let's tag our posts this way" necessarily imply "this is a nice neat cohesive group"?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:55 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


But why does that mean this is a bad idea? Why does saying "let's tag our posts this way" necessarily imply "this is a nice neat cohesive group"?

I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I'm saying that, especially in the other thread, people have pointed out some reservations and discomfort about the whole thing. I don't think that people who AREN'T uncomfortable should dismiss those concerns out of hand, and I don't think that at this point it's really about something as simple as "let's tag our posts this way."
posted by mudpuppie at 2:03 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


The challenges I've faced as an L are so incredibly different from the challenges someone faces as a T that they aren't really even analogous in any way, other than the very simplistic fact that for each of us those challenges are based on our sexuality.

Transgender is not a sexuality.
posted by andoatnp at 2:07 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Does anyone else feel weird about the stated numerical goal? It feels to me more like using metafilter for activism rather than having this as an open ended initiative. Not to get all slippery slope, but what if other groups started doing this, like "Let's shoot for 60 pro-life posts for this month!"

More practically, is someone really going to be counting? What if it falls short? Will there be cheerleading and more metatalks to come?
posted by roaring beast at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Because some of the people under the metaphorical umbrella have been systematically treated shittily by other people under the umbrella and don't want to depend on the umbrella for that reason. That's kinda tortured analogizing but I hope legible.

I'm a cis white conventionally attractive gay man who mostly does conventionally normative gender performance. As a matter of linguistic aesthetics, I do wish "queer" were feasible. (I think this is super generational and if I were even 5 yrs older I would probably not.) But it's not. And a lot of the reason it's not has to do with people like me acting badly towards people less like me. And I don't get to make it otherwise by the magic of good intent. If someone is distressed by something I do I'm responsible for that even if my intent was inclusion. I have no idea what the lived experience of any given person is, let alone the commonalities of those lived experiences for the L's B's T's Q's I's or A's. Hell, I'm pretty loathe to say I understand the lived experiences of the G's. All I can do is listen to people when they say they're upset by something and take them seriously.

I've posted a few FPP's sporadically. I dunno if I would have particularly made one for this in the absence of objections, but I'm pretty leery of doing so in the presence of people essentially saying that it evokes past and present violence for them.

Tl;dr: entitled white dudes ruin everything whether they want to sex women or men.
posted by PMdixon at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


For what it's worth: I'm bisexual and I typically describe myself as queer. I like the word, I like its reclamation, I like it as an inclusive term which is not rooted in gender or sexual activity. As an adjective.

The noun form is a bit of a different thing and is still too close to an epithet. I don't describe myself as "a queer" or expect to hear casual references to "queers" in big mixed open communities like this, even from queer Mefites. It's an insular term requiring more coziness. So, in light of the amount of concerns and unresolved issues with this project from the targeted segment, I'm especially really not loving the "June by Queers" tag here.
posted by desuetude at 2:24 PM on May 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


That's my hesitation as well, desuetude. The noun.

I have a lot of respect for sciatrix for her level of passion and interest in this and to everyone for asking some tough and necessary questions. I have learned a lot from these threads.
posted by mochapickle at 2:30 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I should definitely add that I'm bummed sciatrix is taking a break.
posted by PMdixon at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


#30daysofquiltbaggery
posted by Sys Rq at 2:48 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


kalessin: "what about something like #QueeringJune?"

Oh please god no.

Honestly, at this point, if there is to be a Month, I'm inclined to suggest that anyone who makes a post and finds it appropriate for themselves tags it #gayjune, or #transjune, or #asexualjune, or whatever combination applies.
posted by these are science wands at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


See my comment above, re: the proximity of the word queer to violence.
posted by these are science wands at 2:58 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think we're just arguing semantics. I hear some people objecting not just to the particular team name but whether there's in fact a team at all. If I'm misreading people (hoyland and byanyothername in particular) I apologize, but I don't think it's just the choice of words.
posted by PMdixon at 3:03 PM on May 13, 2015


Cis is not an acronym. You don't need to capitalise every letter.
posted by these are science wands at 3:09 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, but "not cis-het" only gets you so far for much the same reason as "non-white" is dispreferred as a descriptor. Negative definitions are not usually empowering, to say the least.
posted by PMdixon at 3:10 PM on May 13, 2015


Yeah, it sounds like opposition to the very concept of grouping, say, cis gay men and trans straight women together in any way whatsoever, because that grouping has often lead to certain members being oppressed or disregarded by others. Which is true, but I don't see why the proposed solution is "destroy the concept of the group" and not "make the group more equitable."
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:11 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think one of the very, very strong points the JulybyWomen idea had behind it was viggorlijah, who was not only ace with stats, but was very detached (I thought) in a *good* way. (I don't think viggorlijah took part or commented in the second ByWomen event, the most recent one ISTR - I could be totally wrong there... anyhow.)

You need someone who is able to detach and hear all the issues and is experienced. viggorlijah was pretty amazing, in retrospect, at using a light but firm hand in the discussions prior to the first JulybyWomen event/effort.

(As an side, I think I may have first used 'initiative' in the other MetaTalk, and I'm _so okay_ with that being jettisoned - I had no idea it would be a turn-off word but please, do get rid of it if it is.)

We can change this - we can fix it! If we put our heads together. Maybe I'm just a hopeless optimist.

I think sciatrix has done an admirable job. ADMIRABLE. What a terrific community member! I really loved this MetaTalk when I first read it. (Still do.)

But it needs to be less about one particular member, and more about the community. It's a very personal issue and needs a steady detached hand at the tiller (the thing that drives the boat right? I should know given my handle).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:13 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "Yeah, it sounds like opposition to the very concept of grouping, say, cis gay men and trans straight women together in any way whatsoever, because that grouping has often lead to certain members being oppressed or disregarded by others. "

I'd caution against always balancing trans women with cis straight men; in my experience, some of the people most destructive to trans women and our place in the "queer community" have been cis gay women, who I've known strike out at our personhood and womanhood with astonishing viciousness.

I have also known some amazing cis lesbians who have been very kind and it seems at last like awareness of the LGBT community's transmisogyny problem has found us more allies and support than ever before; the tide is turning and it's great. But still.
posted by these are science wands at 3:16 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Makes sense.

I have to say that I think queer is a great word, precisely because it eliminates the need to list out a letter for every possible permutation of non-cishet identity. I also get that it makes some people really uncomfortable. But by this point, it's a very widely accepted term, and I don't think it's going anywhere.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:20 PM on May 13, 2015


I don't think we're just arguing semantics. I hear some people objecting not just to the particular team name but whether there's in fact a team at all. If I'm misreading people (hoyland and byanyothername in particular) I apologize, but I don't think it's just the choice of words.

I'm not objecting to an umbrella term, I'm objecting to the notion that an using umbrella term (whatever it may be) somehow automatically means you're actually including everyone.
posted by hoyland at 3:32 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sure, but "not cis-het" only gets you so far for much the same reason as "non-white" is dispreferred as a descriptor. Negative definitions are not usually empowering, to say the least.

That's pretty much my whole beef with queer. It's all "not." It's got like a hundred synonyms with the prefix un-. I prefer self-description and self-identification over self- (or ingroup-imposed) othering, but that's just me.

At this point in the conversation, I would really appreciate more than "oh please god no" and something more substantive about WHY. Any feedback there?

I can't speak for these are science wands, but, well, queer as a verb has a meaning all its own: Ruining, spoiling, generally fucking up. E.g., "Queering the deal."

It's an adjective. If you must use it, use it as such. Queer people; people who are Queer.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on May 13, 2015


Hoyland - but since this is an opt-in thing, the only way people won't be included if if they choose not to participate.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:35 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this is a fantastic initiative and I'm 100% behind it, but I do agree that the choice of tag is unfortunate.

Queer as a noun is a lot less reclaimed than queer as an adjective. And I don't think that actively working to reclaim it was the goal of this project.

I agree entirely that, in this area particularly, trying to find a perfectly inclusive term that makes everyone happy is one where you have to accept that perfect is the enemy of the good. And I also agree that going for a blanket term rather than adding the whole alphabet to LGBT is probably a better approach. But I think this would work so much better as #JuneByQueerPeople.

Regardless of how this goes forward though, I am going be happy to see any post using whatever tag and send a mental "rock on" to the poster.
posted by 256 at 3:36 PM on May 13, 2015


I can't speak for these are science wands, but, well, queer as a verb has a meaning all its own: Ruining, spoiling, generally fucking up. E.g., "Queering the deal."

Queering doesn't just mean that anymore, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:36 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not objecting to an umbrella term, I'm objecting to the notion that an using umbrella term (whatever it may be) somehow automatically means you're actually including everyone.

Who is being excluded?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:38 PM on May 13, 2015


Hoyland - but since this is an opt-in thing, the only way people won't be included if if they choose not to participate.

I'm seriously rolling my eyes. Is a theme month going to make Metafilter better for trans folks? Frankly, no, it's not. At best it'd be neutral. At worst, it's going to be painful and chase the remaining handful of trans folks away. So how exactly is it including trans people?
posted by hoyland at 3:38 PM on May 13, 2015


If you make a post taged "QueerJune" or whatever, you're going to be assumed to be cis. You're always assumed to be cis until stated otherwise (this is a perfectly reasonable assumption) and then invariably, you're cast in the role of educator. There is no neutral visibility.
posted by hoyland at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I seriously don't see how or why having a theme month for queer or LGBT people would chase anyone away, much less members of those very groups.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, I refer you to the comment of mine byanyothername quoted above:
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).)
posted by hoyland at 3:41 PM on May 13, 2015


I seriously don't see how or why having a theme month for queer or LGBT people would chase anyone away, much less members of those very groups.

Trans people have repeatedly quit the site after trans-related posts. It's not an odd coincidence. So either there are no trans-related posts and you have to explain how a theme month can include trans people in the face of cisnormativity or trans people are being forced into the role of educators. Again. As usual.
posted by hoyland at 3:43 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


So then, what's wrong with the part of this that says "we also optionally encourage people who would like to make it clear exactly how they identify to add an additional tag clarifying your primary identity--for example, “JuneByTrans” or “JuneByBisexual”?
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:43 PM on May 13, 2015


Educators might be generous. "Forced to repeatedly justify their existence" would summarise some threads.
posted by hoyland at 3:44 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


So then, what's wrong with the part of this that says "we also optionally encourage people who would like to make it clear exactly how they identify to add an additional tag clarifying your primary identity--for example, “JuneByTrans” or “JuneByBisexual”?

The point is we shouldn't have to. ("JuneByTrans" is even grosser than "JuneByQueers", coincidentally.) If this is actually supposed to be an LGBT community initiative, we ought to be figuring out how to lift everyone together, not tell the traditionally disempowered and under-acknowledged groups to strike out on their own.
posted by hoyland at 3:45 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


hoyland, I am a trans person and it's not the trans-related posts that had me contemplating quitting the site but the community's discussion of the posts either within the posts themselves or on metatalk that really ended up bothering me. I don't think posts in and of themselves are the problem.

Fair enough, I too am referring to the ensuing discussion(s).
posted by hoyland at 3:46 PM on May 13, 2015


Also, I feel like characterizing something as to "dismiss...out of hand" may be slightly inflammatory and not well deserved.

My point was that posting this go-ahead thread while the concerns in the other thread stand unresolved is essentially dismissing the concerns stated in that other thread. I stand by "dismiss." If "out of hand" makes that inflammatory, I retract that part with apologies.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:49 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, hoyland, if you are speaking for yourself ranking the grossness of different proposed or possible tags, that's fine, but please be clear that you aren't speaking for me.

Generally, I aim to speak for myself.
posted by hoyland at 3:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If this is actually supposed to be an LGBT community initiative, we ought to be figuring out how to lift everyone together, not tell the traditionally disempowered and under-acknowledged groups to strike out on their own.

I think one good solution would be to immediately delete any comment that is shitty to trans people.

But I guess the trouble I'm having with fully understanding your objection is like... you're saying LGBT is really usually LGB, but then you're saying you don't want to have to specify that you're the T part of LGBT, so I guess I don't know what it is you DO want. I don't mean this in a fighty way at all. I want to understand your objections better.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, I move that we just delete the entire month of June.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


how do we know that 'visibility' isn't just 'visibility for cis gay men and lesbians'?

Because everyone outside the cis/het group has been specifically invited.

Posters will be presumed to fit a certain kind of 'LGBT'

Says who? Kindly don't presume to tell me what I am going to think.

If you make a post taged "QueerJune" or whatever, you're going to be assumed to be cis. You're always assumed to be cis until stated otherwise (this is a perfectly reasonable assumption) and then invariably, you're cast in the role of educator.

To whom, exactly, are they having to justify their existence? A trans person makes a lovingly-crafted FPP about the history of mayonnaise, and tags it with #UmbrellaJune or whatever we choose to call it. Can you explain exactly how that person's gender identity is going to come up in the thread in a way that's not going to get deleted from orbit by mods within a few seconds, if it even comes up at all?

Is a theme month going to make Metafilter better for trans folks? Frankly, no, it's not.

More visibility--more self-selected visibility--doesn't help? Since when?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


#JuneHavoc
posted by neroli at 3:55 PM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


But I guess the trouble I'm having with fully understanding your objection is like... you're saying LGBT is really usually LGB, but then you're saying you don't want to have to specify that you're the T part of LGBT, so I guess I don't know what you DO want. I don't mean this in a fighty way at all. I want to understand your objections better.

My objections are basically summarised in that I don't think these questions can be answered satisfactorily. Either it's not about queer content, in which case there's little visibility for people who aren't cis gay men or lesbians because posters will be assumed to fit into one of those groups or, it's about queer content and suddenly queer posters are being asked to do work on behalf of a majority not-queer group.
posted by hoyland at 3:56 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


because posters will be assumed to fit into one of those groups

You keep asserting this, which I think is unfair.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:57 PM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think it's about content by queer people, which means some of the content will be queer and some won't. Your second objection seems to be not about this initiative or Metafilter itself at all, but about the world in general, and I don't know what we can do about that besides encourage people to identify however they want in their posts, which you don't seem to want either. And I don't see being encouraged to make a post on Mefi as being asked to do work for somebody else, at all. I'm not sure where that's coming from.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:59 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


You keep asserting this, which I think is unfair.

It's a consistent pattern in life and on Metafilter. I mean, maybe your experience is different, but it seems likely given how much people talk about bi and trans folks' identities being ignored both within the queer community and by non-queer people.
posted by hoyland at 4:01 PM on May 13, 2015


But it would seem that the way to correct that would be more bi and trans visibility, for example by adding those extra tags, except you don't want that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:04 PM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hate the transphobia in the gay/bi male community (I can't speak for how bad it is amongst lesbians).

That doesn't mean it's fair to assert that everyone is going to assumptively misgender people.

I'm still trying to figure out how a trans person has to justify their existence, and to whom, when they make a post about the use of the word 'fuck' in Quentin Tarantino's films and tag it with whatever tag we settle on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:05 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think it's about content by queer people, which means some of the content will be queer and some won't. Your second objection seems to be not about this initiative or Metafilter itself at all, but about the world in general, and I don't know what we can do about that besides encourage people to identify however they want in their posts, which you don't seem to want either. And I don't see being encouraged to make a post on Mefi as being asked to do work for somebody else, at all. I'm not sure where that's coming from.

It is about the world in general, but Metafilter is not immune from the world's failings and we don't get to give ourselves as pass because 'well, the world sucks'.

Does it not seem problematic to say "Hey, identifying yourself as trans in some threads gets a target painted on your back, but identifying yourself as trans when you make a post this month gets you acknowledgement and visibility?" Cis people get to feel good because, oh look, they have a trans 'friend'. But come July, they're not going to have anyone's back any more than they do now.
posted by hoyland at 4:07 PM on May 13, 2015


I'm still trying to figure out how a trans person has to justify their existence, and to whom

That's not what I said. I encourage you to read my comment again. And then maybe go read some of the trans-related posts that have turned into shitshows (I remember you've commented in some of them, so it's not like you've never seen a trans thread go bad).
posted by hoyland at 4:08 PM on May 13, 2015


#queeringbeingatransfriend
posted by these are science wands at 4:13 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I did read your comment. I am pointing out that your concern about trans people having to justify themselves to anyone when using this tag is basically irrelevant, because you keep returning to this notion that somehow trans people (or indeed anyone else participating in this) is somehow going to be forced into posting specifically non-cis-het content.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:14 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am pointing out that your concern about trans people having to justify themselves to anyone when using this tag is basically irrelevant,

That is not my concern.
posted by hoyland at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2015


Are you confused at my use of 'trans-related'?
posted by hoyland at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2015


odinsdream: "Cis is not an acronym. You don't need to capitalise every letter.

For fuck's sake, this is what I'm taking about. I write a comment on a shitty phone interface and you pick apart the capitalization of two letters? And bother to comment in the thread with that as your complete comment? Not even as an aside to a larger point?

Is that really necessary?
"

Writing cis that way is a common error; I provided a correction. Was the tone of my comment not sufficiently neutral or something?
posted by these are science wands at 4:18 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


"We need more trans visibility" and "more trans visibility just paints targets on trans peoples' backs so we shouldn't encourage trans people to identify themselves" - so what's the goal? More visibility or less? If the goal is "figure out how to make people be less shitty to trans people" I don't think axing this theme month is a coherent way to go about it at all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:19 PM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am not confused. You can stop being snide now.

Look. You want the LGBT (or whatever acronym) to more expressly include the T, yes or no?

We are explicitly trying to do that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:22 PM on May 13, 2015


"We need more trans visibility" and "more trans visibility just paints targets on trans peoples' backs so we shouldn't encourage trans people to identify themselves" - so what's the goal?

I would appreciate it if you made the effort to understand my argument and not just assume that I'm contradicting myself because I disagree with you.

There are two pieces here. One is that 'LGBT visiblity' doesn't actually mean visibility for everyone. The other is that there's little upside on either the community or individual level to stand up and mark oneself as trans, be it in comments or in a tag. Making 'LGBT visibility' include everyone doesn't mean 'Hey, trans people you have to make yourselves visible', it means acting like we're in the fucking room for a change.
posted by hoyland at 4:25 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not confused. You can stop being snide now.

You're (apparently deliberately) misreading my comments. You could refrain from doing that if you don't mind, if you're going to call my offers of clarification snide.
posted by hoyland at 4:26 PM on May 13, 2015


It's my conceit that more posts by self-identified trans folks, making us more ubiquitous, may help people figure out how to be less shitty to me and folks like me.

Call me cynical, but I obviously disagree.
posted by hoyland at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2015


You're (apparently deliberately) misreading my comments.

You're wrong on all counts.

So if you don't want more visibility, how exactly do you propose that attitudes towards trans people change? Attitudes towards the LGB parts of the acronym have changed precisely because of visibility and being out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:30 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm happy to have this discussion, but I'd rather do it over me-mail.
posted by hoyland at 4:30 PM on May 13, 2015


I think "#Juneby[SelfSelectedIdentification]" is the way to go with tagging things, but makes it a little harder to round up the stats and dilutes the feeling of togetherness. I think it's probably the best way to approach this, though. That allows everyone who wants to participate complete autonomy over how their posts get organized, and which boxes they want to check, without putting overt pressure on the smaller boxes or lumping everyone into a homogenous blob.

It's still sort of an unanswered question as far as what the goal is. As hoyland is going into now, there are still currently issues with how the site handles trans discussions, so it feels weird to celebrate and encourage trans (et al) posters when the site is still often a hostile or uncomfortable environment. Imagine doing #MonthbyWomen during the Middle Boyzone Ages, and that may be a decent analogue for why some are nervous about this. If the site handled LGB and particularly TIA topics better, and people were for some reason not posting, it'd be a good thing to stir up some positive energy. As it is, it feels much like, "It Gets Better;" a palliative awarded to people who are still struggling and for whom it is not, necessarily.
posted by byanyothername at 4:30 PM on May 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


As it is, it feels much like, "It Gets Better;" a palliative awarded to people who are still struggling and for whom it is not, necessarily.

Don't worry, as an added, we can be told we're ungrateful or want to be invisible or something for pointing that out. I have shit to do with my evening.
posted by hoyland at 4:33 PM on May 13, 2015


It's still sort of an unanswered question as far as what the goal is.

No, that's been answered in the OP, above the fold even: "a sitewide initiative geared at increasing community and group-recognition among queer MeFites. It is motivated by a desire to engage, connect, and strengthen MeFi’s queer community from and among members of that community."

Don't worry, as an added, we can be told we're ungrateful or want to be invisible or something for pointing that out.

Nobody has said anything about being ungrateful.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:37 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think "#Juneby[SelfSelectedIdentification]" is the way to go with tagging things, but makes it a little harder to round up the stats and dilutes the feeling of togetherness. I think it's probably the best way to approach this, though.

Entirely on the mechanical side here, one approach there would be to aim for a pair of tags: "#Juneby[SelfSelectedIdentification]" as any poster prefers, and then a content-generic tag e.g. "#MonthBy" as a group count thing. That came up with the second #MonthByWomen which is where that tag came from, when folks realized that having "#WomensMarch" and "#JulyByWomen" as distinct tags made for a bifurcation of posts.

For counting purposes, doing a count of #MonthBy tags and subtracting out the count of known previous tags would give you a way to do a count of the current event without explicitly knowing the set of individual tags being used (and would also let you catalog those tags for future mathing).
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:45 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then to bang my drum again, how about:

#UmbrellaMonth

and

#JuneBy_____Person (insert whatever word one prefers to self-ID as, and I suggest 'Person' so that we can avoid the concerns over adjectives vs nouns)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:49 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or literally #MonthBy as a collective Ur-tag for current and future (and with some back-tagging that pb can easily automate, past) month-of-post events in this general spirit.

We use the "mefimusicchallenge" tag in a similar way on Music; there's always a challenge-specific tag for songs posted in any given vein, but also that generic tag for all of 'em as an organizational thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's actually a really smart idea and allows for much better retrieval anyhow. JuneBy. Neat.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:07 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


> ... if you are not cis and straight, you are welcome and encouraged to participate.

When one of my friends and housemates was dealing with coming out the campus Lesbian & Gay society was kinda "coming out" too. (Hey, it was the 80s. That was the name and those were the issues). The society decided to hold a dance, possibly the first one that was held openly by the group. The entire campus was invited (I think that was a really brave step at the time). Four or five of us in our house went early to help with the set-up, because our friend asked us to and you help your friends.

We all even stayed around once the dancing started, even though we were kinda nerdy and not that comfortable dancing. But it felt important that the dance be seen as successful.

> ... if you are not cis and straight, you are welcome and encouraged to participate.

I have a very unpleasant taste in my mouth reading that.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:08 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


We all even stayed around once the dancing started, even though we were kinda nerdy and not that comfortable dancing. But it felt important that the dance be seen as successful.

And the equivalent of that in this case is to read the threads posted in the tag, and participating in them in a polite way. What you're doing right now looks a lot more like throwing a tantrum that the fliers for the party say "LGBT Coming Out Dance" on them.
posted by kagredon at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


kagredon: "What you're doing right now looks a lot more like throwing a tantrum that the fliers for the party say "LGBT Coming Out Dance" on them."

I think it's just a quirk of language. Even though they mean the same thing, a "Non-Cis Non-Straight Dance" flier would be met very differently than a "LGBT Dance" flier.
posted by Bugbread at 6:33 PM on May 13, 2015


You want the LGBT (or whatever acronym) to more expressly include the T, yes or no?

Sometimes, but only if it's more than merely expressly - ie with steps toward practical inclusion taken as well. At other times not, at which point it would also be preferred if it wasn't called LGBT in the first place.

It's a complicated world.
posted by Dysk at 6:49 PM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


odinsdream, I didn't read every bit about past themed months, but I don't remember them specifically dis-inviting groups. The vibe I remember was "MetaFilter is having a theme month and this is the theme. Let's do it." Much more like the college dance that I described.

> Anyone of any designation is free to post any FPP anytime, using whatever tags they want.

Yes, that is technically true. I (who really doesn't qualify in any way as 'queer', except perhaps 'queer duck') could make some post about something I'm interested in and use the JuneByQueers tag — nobody's stopping me. But people who fall into one of the 'queer' classifications have faced and continue to face a lot of barriers to visibility and expression in our society. I think this month is an effort to acknowledge that and over-come that, and using the tag so spuriously would strike me as minimizing or dismissing those issues. I think it would be disrespectful and wouldn't do it.

You did ask 'why?', so to be utterly explicit, having the very first paragraph of the announcement have a statement of exclusion is what I find icky.

To make other things even more explicit, I've got no problem with this themed month. Queer issues aren't tops on my interest list, but there's probably going to be some interesting posts that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. But more importantly, I'm hoping people who have previously felt reluctant to express themselves (both here and in other parts of their lives) will take this invitation as a chance to start being more vocal and active (both here and in other parts of their lives). I think this is something that MetaFilter is really good at offering (helped me with it), and I get a mild case of warm fuzzies thinking about it.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:58 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am a new member of the non-heterosexual community in that I only recently came out and came to terms with being queer/pansexual and I know that I have a lot to learn about my privilege and my place because I am a cis-woman. The comments made up thread about why this theme month would be problematic for many members have been extremely eye opening for me, because when I first heard we might be doing something like this, my heart lept for joy, perhaps because I'm "new". My sexuality makes me very isolated and I'd love to know who else on here is pansexual/queer because it would be nice to have somebody to talk to occasionally about what it means to be pan. I see now that what would help me integrate and feel more connected to other pansexual people would alienate so many other people and that's not okay. I never considered it before but I get how labeling our contributions with a tag could constitute a performance or open us up to censure or drama or pain. That's not going to move us forward.

I wonder, though, if not doing anything at all is worse than doing something imperfectly and iterating continuously as we learn more about how this might play out in the wild? I think we, because of our multitude of backgrounds and life experiences, can accurately predict a lot of negative outcomes, but there are many positives that could come from this too and it would be great if we could do some incremental stuff so we can make those positives happen. Thank you to everyone weighing in on this so we can get closer to a middle ground.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:00 PM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


You did ask 'why?', so to be utterly explicit, having the very first paragraph of the announcement have a statement of exclusion is what I find icky.

With respect, you're walking into a big invisible minefield here. Right before you came into the thread, people were trying very hard to find an inclusive way to say "not cis and/or straight" under a big queer umbrella without specifying every group as if they will have equal representation. It's a very delicate thing and it's important to get it right, and one of the things people were grappling with was the very idea that the only thing that really brings these groups together is that they're non-normative around sexuality or gender, so how can we use positive terminology for a negative category? All we really have in common is not being the 'default' sexuality or gender expression. It's a tough question with no easy answers.

So when you come into the middle of that conversation and say "I feel left out as a straight person!" when someone has phrased something that way specifically in order to dance around these invisible-to-you issues, it comes off as centering your experience as a straight person in kind of a problematic way, and it could easily derail this delicate, nuanced discussion into talking about how we should be including straight people instead of how to somehow bring people together in some sense of community around this idea.

Back to the topic of the thread, this is the kind of pattern that sometimes makes it tough to have good conversations about queer issues here, and I really understand why people are leery about the idea of this initiative moving forward. The issues around "visibility" as a good unto itself are especially important to think about. At the same time, I would love to find a way to build more community around queer issues here, because there are so many fantastic mefites with interesting, insightful things to say. I'm really sad to think that this conversation would end with increasing acrimony in the community here whether we go through with this or not, so I hope some compromise is still on the table.

I think the key here is that we would need to somehow combine this with an effort to be less shitty about these issues in general, which would probably mean tighter moderation around these issues, especially in trans issue threads where the awful education/re-railing burden often falls on just a couple of people. Is a concurrent push to have less shitty threads about these issues on the table? What could that look like?
posted by dialetheia at 7:27 PM on May 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


(I was interrupted while writing my response to odinsdream and posted before reading kagredon's comments.)

kagredon, it's pretty much as Bugbread described it. I have a real bee in my bonnet about exclusionary language. And while Bugbread is able to think of it as just a quirk of language, I obviously am more sensitive to it, and think it can be really alienating.

I don't think "throwing a tantrum" is a fair characterization of my comment, but I did have to think about exactly what it was that I wanted to result from my making it. I ended up with "Please pay attention for when you might use exclusionary language unintentionally, and remove it when you can." Yes, sometimes people will intentionally want to exclude other groups of people, so be it. But its use here struck me a superfluous to the goals of JunebyQueers and I think the effort would be stronger without it.

[BTW, it's a valid question to ask "Why are you complaining about exclusionary language in this particular post, and not in all the other posts you see it?". I think this post is different, representing a quasi-official effort by the site as a whole, not just one member's idea. I'm honestly too lazy to mention it in every post, but if this is a direction the site is going in it seemed worth the comment.]
posted by benito.strauss at 7:27 PM on May 13, 2015


#JulyByFilthyPedantsPervertsWhoAreSubvertingGod'sLaw

If this happens, I'll try and put together a post about queer fashion, I guess. Is anyone planning anything similar?
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:37 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hrm. That's a good point, maybe I can come up with something else.

I really, really don't understand all the controversy over the tags, but whatever compromise makes people happy is cool by me.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:54 PM on May 13, 2015


Thanks for the background, dialetheia. I've been aware that this was in the works for a while but didn't follow the details. All I knew was that I saw the announcement, clicked to read about it, and sentence four said "Not You", so I scrolled down to comment without reading all of the debate. [I did do a quick search for "cis and", found nothing and figured no-one else was discussing it. That'll teach me.]

I understand what you say about the delicate discussions you are having. I do still hold to my desire for the MetaFilter community (and just that community, not all communities) that no group's experience be pushed to the side. But how about anyone who wants to engage in that discussion with me continue it via memail, so as to not derail the work people are putting in to get JunebyQueers working?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:57 PM on May 13, 2015


I'm a straight cis male, so feel free to disregard this as being off-base, but: if the problem is that some people don't find the non-cis non-straight umbrella to be truly inclusive (a la hoyland's pointing out that people would assume that nobody is trans, which I strongly doubt is true, but hoyland probably has a better grip on that than I do), and people can't agree on an inclusive term, and people don't think that there is anything that truly unites the different people under the umbrella, and the experiences of each subgroup are very different from those of other subgroups...then why not have separate months?
posted by Bugbread at 8:01 PM on May 13, 2015


Urgh, reading this thread is frustrating me because it's not a logistics thread at all--it's the quasicontinuation of the prior "should we do this?" thread, but with some people starting from ground zero. So, one quick suggestion--if you don't get why some people have reservations, please get some tea or a beer and read through the prior thread, so we don't just rehash everything here.
posted by DrMew at 8:17 PM on May 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


then why not have separate months?

Not enough months.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


kagredon, it's pretty much as Bugbread described it. I have a real bee in my bonnet about exclusionary language. And while Bugbread is able to think of it as just a quirk of language, I obviously am more sensitive to it, and think it can be really alienating.

As a member of that group being excluded I am comfortable with getting over myself and just living with all the rest of the known universe catering to me. As alienation goes it's remarkably welcoming.

Seriously, I get the underlying philosophical issue here but in this context it's damned close to "but there's not a WHITE student union!"
posted by phearlez at 9:15 PM on May 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


All I knew was that I saw the announcement, clicked to read about it, and sentence four said "Not You", so I scrolled down to comment without reading all of the debate.

Maybe don't do that second part next time.

At least no one's objected to 'cis' yet.
posted by PMdixon at 9:22 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


All I knew was that I saw the announcement, clicked to read about it, and sentence four said "Not You"

Yeah, so.. this is exactly the problem that hoyland and a couple others have pointed out that happens. We see it in threads about women and/or feminisim, too.

It's not about you. So don't, please, start making it about you. As phearlez said, the rest of the known universe caters to you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:25 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I will, in my head, think of this as being Jūnderfluid month.
posted by boo_radley at 9:29 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


a simple concept: hey gender/sexuality people, tag your posts.

..."gender/sexuality people"?
posted by threeants at 10:06 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have explained my reservations about this proposed event on the prior thread, and am not going to restate them here--I'll just reiterate that I'm super ambivalent about the idea. I 'm really sorry that sciatrix felt so burnt by opposition that she left us for now. But I also feel like substantial concerns that people raised were not yet sufficiently resolved, and that this let's-plan-it thread therefore did come across as dismissive.

To respond to this thread specifically--terminology is a painful and contentious issue in our meta-community. The acronym "LGBT" was assembled through a series of pitched battles, first to add the L, then the B, then the T. Now the acronym is in common use, but often is employed to refer only to sexual orientation, which makes trans people like me often feel distrustful of what is really meant when we see it. People who identify as bisexual often feel like their lives are also not addressed in media reports and conversations that use "LGBT" but mean "monosexual same-sex-attracted people." People who are on the asexual spectrum go unmentioned, as do people who are intersex like me, as do a bunch of other folks. The "QUILTBAG" acronym at least has an "I" and an "A" in it, but it's also excluding folks--what about people who identify as pansexual, not bisexual? Do kinky people get to join the sexual minorities included? What about polyamorous people? Then there's "queer," which some people of my generation have no interest in reclaiming, some who came of age in the 90s and aughties see as perpetually revolutionary and all-inclusive, and which some younger people use today as a generic synonym applying to sexual but not gender minorities--hence the phrase "queer and trans" they use as a descriptor. (None of these groups have reclaimed "queers" as a noun, though, so "#JuneByQueers" is going to sound squicky even in the ears of many of those who use "queer" as their term of identity.)

Often those who are comfortable with "LGBT" as a community name--predominantly cis straight and LGB people--see the ongoing struggles over community names as a distraction or counterproductive or silly. Of course, people looking for recognition under the umbrella who are not acknowledged by the letters in "LGBT" feel differently. And battles for recognition are really painful and personal. For example, at my university the unsatisfying-but-better-than-nothing solution settled on by some organizations has been to use the acronym "LGBT+." But my own academic program voted against adding the plus, at a meeting where I had to listen to colleagues say things like "there is nothing theoretically distinctive or interesting about intersex issues" and "asexuality is a fad that will pass." Which is exactly what some of them said for years about trans gender studies when we were a "lesbian, gay and bisexual studies" program. Enduring this sort of lateral violence from one's ostensible allies makes people feel burned and prickly about terminology.

And there are similar battles within each sex, gender and sexual minority group, which get more heated the further you get toward the margins. Battles between people identifying as "intersex" and people who refer to themselves as "having a DSD" (disorder of sexual development, reworked by some as diversity of sexual development) recently took years out of our community's outside advocacy in the U.S., as people were so deeply involved in this intracommunity struggle.

In this context, naming events is inevitably contentious. It's certainly not just a MeFi issue. One solution common right now seems to be to use "Rainbow," which is really generic, but at least doesn't explicitly exclude groups (though in practice, events organized under the name "rainbow" are often very LGB-centered). The same thing holds for events and organizations that use the term "Pride" without elaboration. (My hometown's June event is called PrideFest, which may sound inclusive, but this year is the very first time they've had a trans person on the organizing committee, after years of trans women being cruelly harassed trying to use the women's bathrooms. There are members of the organizing committee today who still say in meetings that they don't understand trans people and that PrideFest was meant for "gay people," period.)

The moral of this story is that whatever name is picked--"#JuneBy" accompanied by "*insert identity here" or what have you--if we don't take steps to actually make it safer and welcoming for more marginalized people, folks will wind up feeling more alienated rather than less so. We need to acknowledge that folks like trans and intersex and asexual MeFites currently face a much greater education burden in posts relating to our identities, and more outright nastiness, and not just plop #JuneBy in people's laps. Just saying "well, don't post if you don't want to" and plowing ahead doesn't solve the issue. Worse still is victim-blaming people who raise concerns or denying there's reason to have them.

I'm not saying we can't do events because they will never be perfect. What I am saying is that we should really talk things out, make sure people are heard and their concerns acknowledged, and take any steps that we can think of to try to make people feel more included and better about MetaFilter rather than more alienated by the event, given the world we are living in, before a decision to proceed.
posted by DrMew at 10:17 PM on May 13, 2015 [34 favorites]

The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex.
Replace "country" with "community," and I think Mr. Zinn's point is relevant here--it's very hard to umbrella diverse groups of people, not because those people are being "difficult" or "divisive" (or, worse, "pedantic"), but because those people don't all want the same things.

Best, best, and some rest to all of you, and I hope June is awesome, however this shakes out.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:59 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Back in the Clinton era, I attended a meeting of what I thought were like-minded people about local housing rights. They wanted to put together a statement of support for a local ordinance to prevent people from being kicked out for being perceived as having same-sex partners by a developer who was known for evicting gay people from apartments. I was a good friend of the guy that was leading the charge. We were young and idealistic, and positive that this was a good idea. The developer was a scumbag who needed a wake up call, dammit, and we were gonna give him one.

It started fine. Called to order, declared ourselves the Rainbow Coalition for Fair Housing, proceeded through some other paperwork, and then got onto the subject of The Mission Statement, where we had to define who we were and what we were doing.

We literally got one sentence in: "We are a group of women and men who have come together to support...." and the shit hit the fan. Someone asked how the word "women" would be spelled on the letterhead (it wasn't going to be on the letterhead, as far as we knew at that point).

And that's when the fireworks started. After an interminable period of some unbelievably intense debate, a group of people who came to the meeting together literally broke apart - angrily moving their chairs away and so forth - because some wanted it to say "womyn" while others wanted it to say "people who are not men", which caused a whole OTHER group to get upset because that term excluded members of the trans* community, and THEN another group of people who identified as femme lesbians got upset because they felt de-feminized by the whole thing.

One guy stood up and asked why "women" was in front of "men", it was showing the demographic of the group - which was mostly female or female presenting - but he felt it should be alphabetically correct. Another guy stood up and wanted to know if race was part of this, and why were all these white women running this, he should have a voice because he was black.

A group of pretty clueless gay men wanted to know what the fuck was going on because they were going out later, and can we get on with it and... on and on and on.

It was like a Lake Wobegon story gone completely ass over applecart.
"Everyone" had an opinion or a reason to support their particular point of view. "Everyone" completely forgot the context.

Which was people getting kicked out of their houses for no valid reason.

The annoying part was that "Everyone" was pretty much right.

This initiative feels like that meeting, all over again.

No matter what, no matter how carefully this forest of eggshells is navigated, someone is going to be upset, or offended, or otherwise hate this idea. Someone's going to be pissed about it.

If I post in June, the impression that I have is that I'll either go too far, or not far enough, or because I'm white and gay and a dude I'll just fuck it up by default.

I don't have time for this.
posted by disclaimer at 11:51 PM on May 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Further: I've got one or two posts that I think the metafilter audience would enjoy. They have fuck-all to do with my identity. What would be my motivation to actually use the tags agreed upon for this June initiative to use them?

I'm pretty disgusted by this whole conversation, and that's inclusive of both threads.
posted by disclaimer at 12:00 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh and by the way, the "Rainbow Coalition for Fair Housing" was dissolved about a week after that meeting. And nothing was done about that developer. He kicked people out just because he didn't like the way "it looked". For years afterward.
posted by disclaimer at 12:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry that a group of young idealists failed to make their rainbow dreams come true, but I doubt it was exclusively because of an attempt to use inclusive language, and even if it was, that wouldn't be a good reason to ignore the voices of trans members who find this idea problematic.
posted by NoraReed at 12:23 AM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


The Rainbow Coalition for Fair Housing had an obvious goal and good beyond the language of the statement in question, it sounds like, in a way that this initiative doesn't quite. We're not in agreement as to the fundamental principles of what should be acheived here, if that's appropriate, and if so for whom. That makes this less of a sideshow that might otherwise ruin a good effort - it's the effort itself we're discussing and taking issue with.
posted by Dysk at 12:33 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think it's interesting that, in your anecdote, you present yourself as the one objective and rational observer in a room of hysterical minorities quibbling over minor details. Your analogy, however, seems to imply that we have all uniformly agreed upon a goal when no offered outcome for the month has actually been presented without heavy strutiny. I'm wondering what you are hoping to accomplish by relating your story in analogy to what's occuring here. I object to your characterization of the thoughtful concerns that other members have raised as minor or overwrought, and I object to your characterization of your stance on this - clearly, that this month should go ahead for some greater good that is still unclear to me - as the one true, objectively important, central detail here. You end by concluding that your viewpoint will be rejected on the sole basis of your identity as a white cis gay male, but I contend that it's not the identity that's the issue but the attitude that frequently comes associated with it where white cis guys frequently believe their positions to be most objective, shut down the concerns of everyone else as trivial details and accuse them of being divisive, and insist that everyone center around their causes - effectively insisting that everyone center around the needs of white cis men while throwing everyone else under the bus. Quite frankly, I strongly read this attitude from your chain of three comments, ranging from your expression of disgust for everyone else while making a very unconstructive comment yourself, to the entitlement of the entire "I was gonna make posts" comment, which reads as basically "I'm gonna take my toys home."
posted by Conspire at 12:37 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


"If I post in June, the impression that I have is that I'll either go too far, or not far enough, or because I'm white and gay and a dude I'll just fuck it up by default. I don't have time for this."

There may be a slot for you to write at The New Republic or Slate though. There's good money in being a white, gay dude who writes anecdotal diatribes against Political Correctness Gone Mad.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:39 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


don't take your toys home, take your toys to The New Republic
posted by NoraReed at 12:44 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoops! Looks like I offended somebody.
posted by disclaimer at 12:52 AM on May 14, 2015


I don't have time for this.

But you apparently do have time to watch this meta and snipe.

Priorities?
posted by Dysk at 12:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


For myself, I'm not so much offended as much as I am puzzled, as I'm not sure how you believe your comments are actually contributing to our attempts to work out the very real issues that serve as barriers for people for this month. I sense that the suggestion that your audience is offended serves as a means to push accountability for your words away by claiming that people will unevitably be offended no matter what you say. I agree the conversation in here can be heated, but I would rather you address the point of how you consider your comments to be constructive here, rather than divert the concrete issues people have raised with your comments.
posted by Conspire at 1:00 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are a few very good points (that are in danger of being obscured, I think) above, in particular this one. One of the "problems" here (if you can call it that--I'm actually not convinced that difficulty forming consensus is a problem) is that to build a coalition, constituents must agree on a shared goal. Not sure that's happened here.

Coalition-building is fraught with challenges, setbacks, and conflicts. Sometimes it fails. There really are different priorities and values, and getting people who don't share priorities and values to agree isn't always possible (or, I suspect, desirable).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:07 AM on May 14, 2015


(I'd like to commend the participants in this thread on being generally very insightful, articulate, and considerate--this thread is very instructive.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:08 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Disclaimer, you're acting like an asshole. (A really specific type of asshole, actually, which is the type of gay dude who thinks he should get to dominate the discourse in queer/rainbow spaces and tends to make those spaces pretty unfriendly to people who aren't also men of similar types of privilege. This rankles me in particular because I've left several queer communities because I got sick of dealing with this shit.)
posted by NoraReed at 2:15 AM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've not commented before, but I've read all of both threads. I would also like to thank the many insightful commenters in both of them. I was all for this themed month when I saw the first thread, and my opinion has swung back and forth but I'm now cautiously for it.

My preferred tagging would be #JuneBy plus #JuneBy[Identifier].

I'm queer and genderqueer but, annoyingly, generally perceived as a woman -- I find the term PPW, for people perceived as women, very helpful here. Not sure if I consider myself trans, but I don't really use that term for myself, and I know that my experiences are very different from those of binary trans people and transfeminine people. I joined in with both #MonthsByWomen after viggorlijah explained that she had deliberately made the ByWomen self-identified and I was welcomed to take part if I felt my identity included doing so.

I do generally think, like kalessin, that normalising visibility of gender and sexual minority groups is important for increasing acceptance. I also think it would be great to see lots of queer content here, but I do also recognise the detrimental effects that past trainwreck threads have had on trans members. If this themed month goes ahead, I commit to doing my best as a good MeFi citizen, and a relatively privileged queer person, in the comment threads: flagging early and often, making sensible and positive comments, and trying to take over some of the education burden from those who get tasked with it, while not speaking over them. I think it would be great if cis/straight allies could do the same. (If the last part seems tricky, allies, you can just flag bigotry and favourite our awesome posts!)

Aside from any larger goals, I'm also always happy to recognise fellow queer/LGBTQIA+ MeFites. It makes me feel at home here. Just lurking in gender threads over the last few years has helped me out enormously.

If I post in June, it'll be my usual stuff, but I'll use the tags. My memail is open, in case anyone wants to get in touch for any reason.
posted by daisyk at 2:30 AM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


That last comment was composed with the help of my cat, so I apologise for any typos.
posted by daisyk at 2:31 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


daisyk: " I commit to doing my best as a good MeFi citizen, and a relatively privileged queer person, in the comment threads: flagging early and often, making sensible and positive comments, and trying to take over some of the education burden from those who get tasked with it, while not speaking over them."

This is the sort of commitment that makes me less pessimistic about taking part. Without it, I can see exactly the sort of nit-pickery that is often a problem--not the obvious attacks which get insta-deleted, but the subtler degendering and questioning that eventually made my participation in mefi slow down to almost nothing (I have a new account but I am a long-time member)--continuing despite good intentions all round.
posted by these are science wands at 2:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there is another open MeTa.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:08 AM on May 14, 2015


What I am saying is that we should really talk things out, make sure people are heard and their concerns acknowledged, and take any steps that we can think of to try to make people feel more included and better about MetaFilter rather than more alienated by the event, given the world we are living in, before a decision to proceed.

Is it possible to appreciate some of the objections but still come down on the side of "Yes let's do a month that encourages lgtbq members to more actively self-identify if they decide to post to the front page of the blue"?

If so, what more should be done to alleviate the concerns? I continue to see a deep contradiction in a theoretical position that consistently appears to end up calling for less trans visibility at MeFi, and also feel there's a strong element in this conversation of theory paralyzing practice in a confusing rather than enlightening way.
posted by mediareport at 3:27 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


There are definitely times metafilter descends into self-parody. This is one of them.
posted by spitbull at 3:51 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


threeants: ..."gender/sexuality people"?

I actually liked that. Although building off the idea of person-goes-first, call it People of Gender/Sexuality. POGS. My quest for an acronym is now complete.
posted by mittens at 4:30 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've heard GSM for gender and sexual minorities, but last I heard, pedophiles were trying to co-opt it.
posted by NoraReed at 4:38 AM on May 14, 2015


[Tiptoes in to suggest....]

#JuneVisibility or #VisibilityMonth?

It seems to me a primary aim of this proposal (if one can be agreed upon) is to make lesser-visible MeFi members more visible. On that basis, perhaps anyone who perceives that their sexual and/or gender identity is less visible than those of others* can post with one of the above-suggested tags. And if they really want to raise a flag as to the nature of their particular invisibility, perhaps then they will decide to add the #JuneBy[Self-Identification] tag as well.

Making this an issue of visibility also potentially opens the proposal up to an even wider group of people: E.g., racial/ethnic minorities, differently-abled people, etc. And that could be a good thing, no?

But again, this all depends on what really is seen as the primary aim of the proposal in the first place. If the main goal is visibility for individuals who are often perceived as "non-normative" in some way, shape or form, then #VisibilityJune would seem to be a nice/inclusive way of capturing that. If, however, the proposal's originators really only want this to be about sexual/gender identity issues, well....um....carry on with the discussion.

*As with the women's months, people can decide for themselves whether they believe the issue of (in)visibility applies to their identity. No policing required/allowed.

[Tiptoes back out.]
posted by Halo in reverse at 4:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't pretty much everyone a person of gender/sexuality?
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I continue to see a deep contradiction in a theoretical position that consistently appears to end up calling for less trans visibility at MeFi

I read this as yet another a jab at me. Perhaps it would help to think of my position as saying I think trans people should be in the driving seat when it comes to making Metafilter better for trans people. This effort does not really put trans people in the driving seat and that (being in the driving seat) means not being told "hey guys, let's be visible" by cis people with no thought given to who actually ends up being seen. Instead, it creates the very real possibility (even likelihood) of creating the impression that Metafilter is being made better for trans people (and queer people generally) when that just isn't the case. So we have a theme month. Is the next thread going to be any less shitty? And the one after that? The idea is poorly thought out generally and it's making a lazy use of an umbrella term as if that bandaids over the problem of some queer people having a much easier go of it on Metafilter than others.
posted by hoyland at 5:00 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Isn't pretty much everyone a person of gender/sexuality?

That's actually what I like about it, sort of like how we all have some sort of skin color, but "person of color" helps foreground the fact of exclusion without being defined in terms of non-whiteness.

I dunno. It's a derail from the real discussion going on, but I don't like "minority" since it feels like it presumes powerlessness, like its main feature is lack of numbers, and we've already heard the really tough problem of the acronyms. But I thought I'd mention it since it popped into my head.
posted by mittens at 5:07 AM on May 14, 2015


Honestly, at this point we have trans people saying they're going to take time off because this plan isn't moving forward, and trans people saying they're going to take time off because the plan hasn't been scrapped. I don't think there is a solution that people will all be cool with, short of a Men In Black memory wipe to before the idea was floated.
posted by Bugbread at 6:50 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


FTR I agree with hoyland and some of the other fine folks here that there seems to be no upside for many trans people to participate in this as long as mefi is still hostile to (or at least ignorant about) trans issues. Trans women especially have to deal with enough stupid fucking bullshit IRL. I can certainly understand if some/most of them do not want to call attention to themselves here.

[kalessin, I wrote this before you posted so it's not a direct response to you]
posted by desjardins at 6:56 AM on May 14, 2015


Also I get the sense that some people's objection to long, inclusive acronyms is that they're inconvenient and unwieldy. Surely they are less inconvenient than being marginalized your entire life. If your problem is that you have to say or type a few more letters, get over it.
posted by desjardins at 7:06 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not that their inconvenient and unwieldy; it's that their fundamentally not resolvable and are effectively blockading what promises to be a positive event for the site and for people looking for more diversity at this community.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:10 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


FTR I agree with hoyland and some of the other fine folks here that there seems to be no upside for many trans people to participate in this as long as mefi is still hostile to (or at least ignorant about) trans issues.

Hmm. This is a good fucking point. If this is the case, perhaps some people are viewing this idea as a "oh, look how they want to maintain that we are welcome here when we don't really feel comfortable here".

I'd be offended as fuck if the criminal justice system had some "we love black people" month or something. It would feel as if they are just putting on a show to coverup the larger issues that permeate its existence. "Don't mind that we have incarcerated a good percentage of the Afro-American population...just look at our balloons which have Harriet Tubman on it and say 'I choo-choo-choose you!"

I can understand the need to NOT participate because of that feeling.


But then how about protest in the form of a great post, and a (previously) link showing how some piece of shit comment/thread on metafilter made someone feel as if they weren't welcome.

#junebyprotest
posted by hal_c_on at 7:13 AM on May 14, 2015


Maybe at the very least, we could talk about things we could do to actually make these discussions go better. To be honest, after yesterday's awful tramp stamp thread and after rereading the horrorshow thread where ArmyOfKittens and others left us (one of MeFi's lowest moments), I'm not feeling especially optimistic that we could handle a bunch more "visible" queer threads right now anyway.

Is tighter moderation on the table for the contentious threads that will probably come from this initiative? Obviously lots of folks will just post about whatever interests them, but surely at least a few people will post about issues - or at least they should be able to! I hate the idea of doing this month if people don't even feel open to talk about their queerness here because the threads turn contentious and terrible. I just don't think an initiative like this will be good for everyone if we just have a few extra threads open for people to shit all over each other - and even this thread is turning into that now (thanks for your scintillating input, spitbull, I'm sure everyone really appreciates it).
posted by dialetheia at 7:30 AM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


FWIW, I had asked the mods if we could get any kind of visible statement of support for tighter moderation during this effort, and this was cortex's response. That was many hundreds of posts ago, though, so it's worth re-asking now that the conversation has shifted several times.

I'm still feeling that I would participate, that I would post both queer and non-queer content. But also that I would watch myself much more carefully for any future post I make on topics specific to trans, intersex, and asexual folks, and other groups that my cis-bi self may not always be as good an ally to as I want to be. I think I am much less likely to make those posts now that I understand they are received by at least some of our trans community members as painful by their mere existence. I don't think that's a bad thing; it's a lesson I needed to learn.

I would absolutely commit to flagging more ferociously in threads on queer topics, and trying to be a more vocal presence, but I don't know that I would manage to hit the right note of balancing that with trying not to speak (or mis-speak) for others in other parts of the spectrum. I would try. But I may very well fuck up.
posted by Stacey at 7:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Idle suggestion: Just tag posts with whatever subgroup you want, no matter the month. So I would tag my posts "postsbyblackmefites", whenever I make one. Prefer "african-american"? I don't, so I won't use it, but someone else, have at it.

That way, it isn't just monthly thing (one of the most irritating things about Black History Month), but an ongoing effort that anyone can opt in or out of at any point, while still leaving a collection of tags for others to browse or for other members of the subgroup to find.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is tighter moderation on the table for the contentious threads that will probably come from this initiative?

We'll certainly keep an eye on stuff to the best of our ability, yeah. Part of that is needing folks to let us know early when something's up or might be; I don't want to set the unrealistic expectation that we'll just know in a prescient way that something could go wrong without any kind of indication, since a big part of how stuff keeps from getting out of hand on the site when it otherwise might is to have folks help us out by promptly flagging/contacting about it so we can nip trouble in the bud instead of having to try and wrangle it after it's already bloomed and rotting.

That works really well when folks are sort of collectively throwing in on that, and it's something we'll absolutely be doing our best to keep up our end on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:53 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


dialetheia: "Maybe at the very least, we could talk about things we could do to actually make these discussions go better. To be honest, after yesterday's awful tramp stamp thread and after rereading the horrorshow thread where ArmyOfKittens and others left us (one of MeFi's lowest moments), I'm not feeling especially optimistic that we could handle a bunch more "visible" queer threads right now anyway. "

Thing is, I'm personally up for cool threads and good discussion, and the mefi community is a good generalist place to see those cool threads and have that good discussion (not the best, any more, not from my perspective, but still; good). What it need is precise moderation to make it a good place to have those cool threads and good discussions on trans subjects.

Sometimes we have that. Sometimes the subtler comments, attacks, digs get flagged and deleted, but sometimes they don't. Sometimes really vicious and aggressive comments, laden with dogwhistles, stay up for hours, or stay up forever once it's become clear they've permanently twisted the shape of the conversation. This is particularly the case when it comes to comments that are anecdotal: my personal experience leads me to believe [x] about gender and [y] about chromosomes and so I'll just heavily imply that trans women are men even though we're actually talking about, say, trans fashion, or werewolves.

To truly be somewhere that I'll feel comfortable discussing trans stuff again--and bear in mind I'm not talking about obvious "issues" threads but any thread that touches on trans topics because they can all get infected with this crap--I need commitment from allies to watch for the subtler stuff as well as the obvious insults, and commitment from mods to err on the side of action when it comes to flagging. We can see dogwhistles you can't.

I can't and don't speak for other trans people, but that commitment is what I'm looking for here.

I also don't personally care about the Qs in LGBTQQIA; other people can identify themselves as they like, but the queer community has been horrendous to me and people I love, and the word has been thrown at me as a slur far more often than I would like. I'm not queer.
posted by these are science wands at 8:01 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Kalessin, it's great that you feel invited and welcomed and whatever else. It doesn't change the fact a number of other people are feeling the opposite.
posted by hoyland at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


We can see dogwhistles you can't.

Can we talk more about this point? Because I am positive there are digs and aggressions that happen online that I don't recognize as such, but I want to be aware when they're happening, and what they look like. I know a few of the basics from listening to the discussions about it, the "not socialized as a woman," the accusation of someone enacting gender stereotypes, things like that. But the places I've seen this in my own life have been clunky and obvious, rather than dog whistles. "Dude, are you wearing makeup?" "Why'd you shave your legs, man?" Sort of the constant parade of gender policing bullshit that doesn't even try to be subtle, that is constantly sending the message of "your body is being watched."

But I am not as familiar with this sense of "your words, your meanings, your implications are being watched," the sense of having words/thoughts corrected, the sense of constantly being reminded that your discourse about your gender is wrong. And if I can't learn to recognize that, then I will suck as an ally, and then it doesn't even matter how much kinship I feel when I read threads about this stuff, it doesn't matter how I've identified myself, it'll just matter that I'm helping the policing go on by not recognizing it.

And yeah, after me bitching about the horrors of "educaaaate meeee" in the other thread, I am totally asking to be schooled on dogwhistles here.
posted by mittens at 8:44 AM on May 14, 2015


The "QUILTBAG" acronym at least has an "I" and an "A" in it, but it's also excluding folks--what about people who identify as pansexual, not bisexual? Do kinky people get to join the sexual minorities included? What about polyamorous people?

This is the kind of stuff that makes me wonder if expanding the suggestions is ultimately going to wind up including everyone. I mean, I'm not sure that this thing was created to showcase kinky folk or polyamorous folk, and more to the point, I'm not even really sure it should be. I mean, we have kinky folk and poly folk on Metafilter, but I don't think lumping them in with LGBT is the best visibility motion and I think will be more likely to undermine even further the people that are already concerned about erasure.
posted by corb at 9:33 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I continue to see a deep contradiction in a theoretical position that consistently appears to end up calling for less trans visibility at MeFi

Understand that trans people on the site are a really small minority of users, and that while moderation in these threads has gotten better, they are still in lots of ways pretty much alone in defending themselves when trans threads (almost inevitably) get hostile. So, we all have different feelings about this, and there isn't a fully consistent position that Trans People take. Personally, I would actually feel most comfortable with less visibility: with trans threads just dropping off for a little while. This would relieve me of feeling like I have to watch and participate in any trans thread that pops up, and it might give the site some time to catch up on trans issues, culturally. Obviously, I have no control over this and I'm not mentioning it as a suggestion; it's just what I would find ideal. I don't want my participation on the site to be subsumed in being The Trans Person, you know? That's a smaller way in which asking for people to tag posts by sexuality/gender identity makes me slightly uncomfortable.

There are two big ways in which the site doesn't handle trans issues very well. The first fits pretty snugly under the umbrella of "transphobia," but it can get subtle and hard to recognize for cis folks--lots of well meaning people use phrases like "fe/male bodied" or "fe/male socialization," to give an example. To most people, the arguments of TERFs look reasonable. In order to get past pervasive transphobia, we have to acknowledge that we live in a culture in which transphobia is pervasive; that transphobic arguments denying the lives and livelihood of trans people typically register as more reasonable than what trans people have to say for themselves because the former is more familiar and reaffirms what you already "know" about trans people and issues. This is something the site is pretty unwilling to do, and bringing it up is always like pulling teeth or leading a stubborn donkey.

The second way things go south is in patronizing positivity. Sometimes posts get made that are really super glurgy on trans issues, and it's hard to explain how that's hurtful and gross without in turn hurting people's feelings. In real life, I always try to keep in mind that when people say stupid things like, "It Gets Better," they do mean well. But there is also a connotation of not really being invested in or caring about trans issues. Because I am still struggling to get healthcare. I am still struggling to get economic security. I am still fighting against laws designed to hurt me and bills that would significantly diminish my legal personhood. I am losing, so celebrating "visibility" or throwing a party feels hugely inappropriate. That isn't really about me (I'm fine with people opting-in and having fun with this, as long as it's done responsibly), either. That's just reality for many trans people, and it feels dishonest for people on the site to pretend to care, to offer positivity and encouragement, while still acting in ways that harm minorities. "It Gets Better" does absolutely nothing to ensure I and other people like me get legal protections and basic rights. It's fine to offer positivity--but don't kid yourself about how helpful it is.

A lot of trans people have experienced getting swept up in Awareness & Visibility initiatives similar to this, only to be treated like tokens. If some (not all!) are saying, "No, thanks," to this, that's probably why. My own feelings are that I'd like the site to be friendlier toward trans people, and able to handle trans discussions better, but as things stand I'd just sort of like to opt out, actually. To echo hoyland's response, doing trans issues well means allowing trans people agency and autonomy in posting and discussing them. Right now, the culture and demographics skew toward cis people just barreling through and posting whatever they want, leaving (some) trans people with a feeling that their participation as educators and flaggers is basically mandatory. It's tiring and unpleasant.

What could help? The mods are getting better at recognizing some of the subtler forms of transphobia, but they're human and can't be everywhere at once. The community walks right into them time and again. More dedication to flag and counter transphobic derails by cis people would be genuinely helpful. A lot of us have bundles of resources we're happy to dump on people that can help further understanding and recognition of transphobia and trans issues. The thing to avoid there is glurge and spectacle, which too many cis allies retreat back into. Things are hard, and not "getting better," and it's sad and frustrating when allies devote disproportionately more time and effort to what amounts to gossip than advocacy. What's ideal is being familiar enough with trans issues to identify transphobic comments, and counter them, without taking the mic away from trans people. Speaking out, without speaking for.

Maybe it would help if more of us flagged transphobic comments, regardless of where the thread is at? I usually see them late, after they've already exploded into a back and forth chain of hostility, and so don't flag because I assume it might be annoying. It may be a good idea for more people to make an effort flagging them after the fact just to help boost an understanding of what transphobia looks like, though.
posted by byanyothername at 9:37 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


To toss in my own two cents on terminology as part of the younger generation, there's been a lot of talk about reclamation of the word "queer" in both this thread and the past. In a sense, that's almost emotionally surprising to me because even though I can intellectually comprehend that the word has been reclaimed, I grew up as a generation in a city where the word was so normalized that the emotional understanding of word as an attack is almost completely foreign to me. Compared to many people here, I'm very young - and I do understand that I'm an outlier in that respect. Every non-profit, arts society, community group, radical activist group, etc. that serves gender and sexual minorities here uses "queer" to describe themselves (except Pride, which still uses LGBT, bless their hearts.) The sheer visibility of queer culture in my city aligning itself with this term has probably influenced wider discourse too - I have rarely, if ever, heard "queer" launched at me as an insult. But surprisingly, alternative words such as "Pride" or "Rainbow" that have been proposed here that seem fairly innocuous actually do carry notes of violence for me. Rainbows scribbled on desks and accusations of being too "colorful" were actually used in my high school to bully others - that might seem humorous to some people, but I can reassure you that group dynamics made it a profoundly traumatic experience for those on the receiving end of it - especially for still-closeted folks like myself.

So this strikes me as what the difficulty is in trying to decide a term - no matter what term is chosen, some people will still associate violence with it. And this isn't an issue with the term, but rather the connotations that are still associated with queer bodies, and particularly non-normative queer bodies. No matter what we shift to, our culture will still find a way to weaponize it against us. And it will always weaponize it in a way that disproportionately impacts the more marginalized within our community, rather those who can adhere better to a normative status quo.

I hear the remarks made by people who state that queer has violent connotations for them, and I'm trying to replace the word wherever I can now - although it's difficult, because it's such a standard part of my vocabulary that I really lack terms to do so without making convulted leaps of language that avoid referencing people at all (and in that circumstance, I worry that I sacrifice clarity). I think I'm also motivated to use it due to the context in my local community. We're a city, but we're small enough that mostly everyone recognizes each other, and calls not to use queer have been poisoned for me, as they always come from older cis gay white men who insist that we exchange "queer" for "gay" - again, part of the insistence that discourse center around them.

So I recognize that I'm bringing this local context to an online one, and that it might not entirely be appropriate for this sphere, which has had different discussions community-wise and doesn't have identical patterns of coalitions or solidarity/trust between gender and sexual minorities. So in this circumstance, it might be worthwhile to consider who to prioritize in our choice of terminology here in our own community context. To me, I feel like trans people take the disproportionate brunt of the blow here on Metafilter, so if folks here do consider queer transmisogynistic, I'm happy to recognize that my preference for the word "queer" here might take second priority.
posted by Conspire at 9:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is the kind of stuff that makes me wonder if expanding the suggestions is ultimately going to wind up including everyone.

Ideally.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And when everyone's queer, no one will be [/syndrome]
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:46 AM on May 14, 2015


You and hoyland and others have spoken about standing apart from the queer community(ies) as trans people

I'm actually quite strongly queer-identified, but I don't necessarily see my queer community reflected on Metafilter, if that makes any sense.
posted by hoyland at 9:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe it would help if more of us flagged transphobic comments, regardless of where the thread is at? I usually see them late, after they've already exploded into a back and forth chain of hostility, and so don't flag because I assume it might be annoying. It may be a good idea for more people to make an effort flagging them after the fact just to help boost an understanding of what transphobia looks like, though.

I'd certainly find it helpful, yeah. Likewise notes to the contact form about stuff even after the fact, if it's subtle or tricky. That stuff we find out about late is generally speaking less likely to get removed is something I can understand being sort of a frustrating or "what's the point" thing, but it really does help us get better at recognizing stuff over time when we have more specific item-by-item feedback about what kind of stuff people are bothered by on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, I wasn't going to, because it's a total side-conversation, but now want to add: I skew toward the younger side of the MeFite age spectrum (but not for much longer; I get my cane and discount card next year), and "queer" is still a hostile word where I am. It really depends on a lot of factors: region, class, race, culture, whether you believe pejoratives can even be reclaimed, etc. I associate the positive-"queer" with 1) academics and activists who are neck-deep in the theory and action sides of things and 2) pretty much wealthy white people in, like, San Francisco living enviable lives of unattainable comfort.

I'm okay with the positive usage! I've used it myself once or twice in a light-hearted sense. It feels good to take away from bigots. I'm just adding this out of annoyance that it's "a generational thing," has come up so much, when it's scattered across a whole bunch of things and I'm not lying when I say it's not really a nice word, still. My sense is that it's mostly positive within English-speaking cultures when people who self-identify use it, but that that definitely emerged as I was growing up (90s/00s) and there are still plenty of people who don't self-identify and use it in a diminishing sense.
posted by byanyothername at 9:50 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "And when everyone's queer, no one will be [/syndrome]"

The solution is clearly to build Large Round Inclusivity Robots.
posted by these are science wands at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


That stuff we find out about late is generally speaking less likely to get removed is something I can understand being sort of a frustrating or "what's the point" thing

It's more than sort of frustrating. This seems like a huge part of the problem to me, and it seems to be a lot of why we end up losing members (I'm particularly remembering ArmyOfKittens leaving because medium blue stocking's horseshit wasn't deleted due to these "minor" timing issues).

Allowing hateful bullshit to stay up just because of timing issues sends the (accurate) message that you can go ahead and say hateful shit here, and there's a fair chance it'll stay up if somebody doesn't see it in time. There's a nonzero chance your crap will stay up as long as enough people get mad or a mod happens to miss it, so why not give it a try?
posted by dialetheia at 10:01 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd love an alternate set of words to describe my sexuality and gender. "Queer," "bisexual," and "pansexual" all have their problems. Anything ending in "-gender" has another set of problems. Nothing seems to be popping out right now.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:03 AM on May 14, 2015


Allowing hateful bullshit to stay up just because of timing issues sends the (accurate) message that you can go ahead and say hateful shit here, and there's a fair chance it'll stay up if somebody doesn't see it in time.

This is definitely a problem. It's not limited to LGBT issues, but definitely. It also has the effect of normalizing things that manage to stay up because of timing, because it's not like mods drop in and say "Man, this would have been deleted except for timing but it's definitely a no-go!"
posted by corb at 10:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd love an alternate set of words to describe my sexuality and gender. "Queer," "bisexual," and "pansexual" all have their problems. Anything ending in "-gender" has another set of problems. Nothing seems to be popping out right now.

I feel largely the same. I like queer because it seems less prescriptive than bisexual or pansexual, but it isn't perfect. I feel most comfortable when I just say "I date whoever" but obvs that is not a great option either
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:07 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying we can't do events because they will never be perfect. What I am saying is that we should really talk things out, make sure people are heard and their concerns acknowledged, and take any steps that we can think of to try to make people feel more included and better about MetaFilter rather than more alienated by the event, given the world we are living in, before a decision to proceed.

This is so reasonable I don't know where to start.

This discussion has been tiring not because it's tiresome, but because it's a fair bit of work to read, actually listen and actually try to put myself in the shoes of dysk, hoyland, kalessin and others who have raised some really excellent points. By that I mean tiring in a good way. Arriving at a better understanding of other people's concerns takes a bit of work.

I threw out some suggestions in good faith in the other thread that got (rightly, IMO) shot down as "holy shit, you weren't even listening to what we said upthread." I'm not all upset about that.

I do think it was a mistake to kick off this thread because people weren't done in the other one, I don't think.

I hear the remarks made by people who state that queer has violent connotations for them, and I'm trying to replace the word wherever I can now - although it's difficult, because it's such a standard part of my vocabulary that I really lack terms to do so without making convulted leaps of language that avoid referencing people at all (and in that circumstance, I worry that I sacrifice clarity). I think I'm also motivated to use it due to the context in my local community.

I don't personally identify strongly with the term, and I too come from a place where it was such an epithet that I personally find it hard to reclaim. Others find it fits them well, and that's cool too.

But I think the bigger point people are making here is that regardless of how you feel about "queer" on its own, it's really problematic or for some downright galling that it would be flown as THE flag by which a monthby would be identified (or if the monthby was even warranted/useful/doable) when that earlier discussion was far from concluded.

It also has the effect of normalizing things that manage to stay up because of timing

Yup. There's still an AskMe up with an actual racist slur in the question title from a few weeks back. Again, "timing" was cited as the reason it wasn't just nuked from orbit.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:12 AM on May 14, 2015


yesterday's awful tramp stamp thread

I couldn't even get 50 comments into that thread without slamming down my laptop lid and I've lost confidence that mefi can handle gender or sexuality topics very well any more. It just seems to be getting worse IMO.

This isn't a perfect analogy, but yesterday there was an AskMe by a person whose boyfriend was poking her and tickling her and snapping her bra straps, and then he'd claim she was no fun when she got upset. Sometimes mefi feels like that guy.
posted by desjardins at 10:16 AM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Can we talk more about this point? Because I am positive there are digs and aggressions that happen online that I don't recognize as such, but I want to be aware when they're happening, and what they look like.

This is gonna be different for everyone and obviously I can't speak for all trans ppl but the end of this discussion about how ppl self-identify got to me. It's frustrating to see it reduce to citing dan savage (who's famously bad @ bi/trans stuff) and hand wavey generalizations from yr self-professed gay male expert ("I probably have more experience than you do… trust me…").
posted by as common as insecticide at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


(oh [full disclosure] I was involved in that discussion & had a short snarky comment rightfully deleted so I wanna be upfront about all that.)
posted by as common as insecticide at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2015


This is the kind of stuff that makes me wonder if expanding the suggestions is ultimately going to wind up including everyone.

All Lives Matter!

hamburger
posted by desjardins at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2015


I think that was the point ("hamburger" is an in-joke marking sarcasm) -- people's push to make this one project include everyone, including cishet people, is reminiscent of the highjacking of "Black Lives Matter" to "All Lives Matter."
posted by jaguar at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not for nothing is there a UK support group for transgender children called Mermaids.
posted by these are science wands at 12:37 PM on May 14, 2015


There are definitely times metafilter descends into self-parody. This is one of them.
posted by spitbull at 6:51 AM on May 14 [3 favorites +] [!]


You made the same claim in another thread about trans* issues. Is it simply trans* issues that you find to parodic? If so, of what?
posted by OmieWise at 12:47 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Every Mefi thread needs someone archly declaring themselves above the conversation. It's all part of the parody!
posted by these are science wands at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


I have been involved as an activist in communities of sex, gender, and sexual minorities since the late 1970s. In my many years of community organizing, never has their been a monolithic "community"--there have always been struggles for inclusion and battles over terminology. Yet I have been involved in groups that were cohesive and able to achieve lots of concrete goals, and organizing efforts that exploded, as it seems to me this one is in the process of doing, and ended in polarization, alienation, and splintered sniping.

At this point in my life, after almost forty years of activism in this meta-community, I can tell you this: just because we have very different identities and life experiences does not mean we can't organize great and successful events. There is nothing inherently divisive or paralyzing about our diversity. But when things go badly, over and over again I have listened to planners and those who identify with them blame people who don't share their identities. These others are accused of not keeping their eyes on the prize, and supposedly engaging in divisive, self-centered navel gazing about what are famed as minor differences in identity. Almost always, it's more marginalized people who are blamed for messing things up so that "the community" can't have nice things.

Then someone comes along to call the fiasco a self-parody.

But as I said, I have been involved in plenty of organizing efforts that went just fine, and led to feeling of inclusion and shared accomplishment. And what distinguishes these is how they start up: with coalition building and buy-in.

Here's a recent example from my personal experience of how to set a group up for failure. A white trans guy decided his area really needed a trans support group. His intentions were good, and he wanted to be supportive of everyone, so he made up an acronym that included an I for intersex, and made up an announcement for flyers and social media that talked about the plight of trans women of color in announcing the new group. But here's the thing: his personal friendship network contained only white, female-assigned-at-birth, nonintersex genderqueer people and trans men. So that's who showed up. After the group met for a while, they decided to hold educational events, with the good intention of bringing in people of color, trans women, and intersex people. But guess what happens when a group of all white, all FAAB, nonintersex people invite others to attend educational events about people of color, trans women, and intersex people? Is it surprising to you that things went poorly, and ended up with the organizer of the trans group facing anger from people who felt misrepresented, and with members of the group feeling attacked, and with some responding by making defensive statements that carried whiffs of transmisogyny and/or racism? Is it not predictable that this would lead to a public battle in which trans women and an intersex person called out the group for naming itself with an acronym that claimed the group represented them, when it did not?

The way to avoid this sort of situation is simple, although it involves work: always make sure you have buy-in before announcing a community project or group. In cases like the example I just gave, this means the person interested in organizing a local group should have networked, and met people out side his white, FAAB social circle, and either found partners who were trans women/MAAB genderqueer/intersex/of color/etc. to jointly start the group, or at least have gotten input from other subcommunity organizers and their pleased agreement to help advertise the new group formation.

In a diffuse online community like MeFi, the appropriate means to secure buy-in was the "shall we plan a "#JuneBy" event thread. The problem that arose, as I see it, is that though there was not immediate buy-in, and people, especially trans people, raised concerns, potential organizers moved ahead to announce the event before those concerns were addressed to the satisfaction of numbers who had raised them. Others who quickly bought in were dismissive of the concerns raised, and a few were mocking.

The thing is, in the case of an event like this one, there is no urgent need to address (the June date is arbitrary), and in such cases, building a coalition consensus can be quite slow. That's not to my mind a bad thing at all, because we need opportunities to hash things out as a meta-community. It's under these circumstances where we have the best opportunity to really listen to one another's concerns, and do something to reduce them, and that takes patience. On the other hand, when there is some urgent outside need presenting a deadline, building buy-in from a very diverse assortment of sex, gender and sexual minorities can happen extremely quickly, so long as there is a fair degree of trust and a quick check-in with different subgroups. (I was just in a situation last weekend where this happened in minutes, due to a need for an immediate response to circumstances many found upsetting.)

While not seeking to build alliances and consensus is the most negative circumstance, Bad Things can still happen when floating an idea with the community under the following circumstances: when people confuse a situation in which goals are not agreed upon and the urgency is low with one in which there is a shared urgent goal; when people try to frame the former as the latter to force buy-in; when people ask for a responses from community members, without feeling prepared to really listen; or when people get upset when there's not immediate buy-in. All of those probably apply in some way in this thread and its predecessor. But what people are characterizing as the "fightiness" of these threads is not inevitable.

We can, as a diverse meta-community, do good things together, and wind up feeling empowered by them and more unified. I believe it's still possible we could do a MonthBy event some time in the future that isn't proceeding over objections, and in which the people who left this thread feeling attacked, on both sides, participate together with mutual goodwill. What it takes is the patience and will to listen, and commitment to the idea that community-building is more important than doing things quickly, in planning this sort of event.
posted by DrMew at 2:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


In the thread above this one, Spitbull says that with his "self parody" comment he meant to refer to the mean tone of the discussion, rather than to attack Trans people for their input.
He also appears to have gone on hiatus.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:37 PM on May 14, 2015


You know, something doesn't have to be a consensus process in order to utilize the principles of consensus.

For example: some people have expressed strong concerns with this initiative. Are those concerns strong enough that you would want to block the initiative going forward? If so, why?
posted by corb at 3:22 PM on May 14, 2015


How long do you suggest we seek buy-in and consensus before announcing our initiative? How many folks need to buy in before we can proceed?

In many ways this goes back to the issue at the beginning of the thread about the poor timing of this post. I don't think there's perfect agreement to be hand, but I think making sure people don't feel like their feelings have been trampled on and that they haven't been taken seriously is a minimum (and we're a bit short on people taking the objections seriously, even if they disagree). So I think this ought to be dead for June. I am, however, not opposed to restarting the conversation with "Can we figure out how this ought to work?" or "Is a theme month really the right way to celebrate queerness on Metafilter or would we be better served by a few people working on some good solid queer posts?"

(And before everyone jumps on me and calls me a hypocrite, let me point out that I never advocated for fewer queer or trans posts, but rather that non-queer/non-trans (as applicable) people shouldn't be asking for them. But, you know, that would have entailed people actually acknowledging that I'm not an idiot.)
posted by hoyland at 3:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I probably would have volunteered myself if the original post had been "Hey, anyone want to join me in planning some queer posts for Pride?"
posted by hoyland at 3:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hi, kalessin. Sure, I'll be happy to share my personal thoughts about consensus. For me, whether to seek consensus, and what degree of shared sentiment are required, vary a lot by circumstance. Most of the organizations I work with operate on a democratic majority-rule principle, under an elected leadership hierarchy, and I'm totally cool with that. A lot of our society is built around the principle of efficiency, and consensus-building is not efficient, or any other of those bywords much beloved by corporate downsizers, like "nimble" or "lean." I certainly don't run my lecture classes by consensus, though I always try to practice respectful listening to my students.

I do believe that a consensus-centered process is important to community-building and collaborative project initiation. And this is a good example, as people have framed the "#JuneBy" (or whatever) project as aimed at building a sense of queer fellowship, increased comfort, and community visibility. If there are a people saying, "wait, as it stands I don't think the event will do that for me," going forward anyway clearly doesn't build community with them.

Now, I don't want to come across as saying we need unanimity. That's too high a bar for consensus to my mind for a community as large and diffuse as MetaFilter. But what I'd certainly want to see a substantial number of people who initially raised concerns now saying, "OK, my concerns have been heard, and people have now made me feel secure and good about this, because I will be supported in XYZ ways." And I haven't seen that.

Personally, as I've stated before, I'm absolutely not categorically opposed to the idea of some sort of collective posting party. I'm ambivalent because of the heightened burden this raises for some people. Like, the number of MeFites who are out as intersex is miniscule, so as one of the vanishingly few, I feel really obligated to comment, and also exposed, and frustrated and sad when something happens like an international athlete is discovered to be intersex, and there's a thread, and 99% of the people commenting are not intersex, but tons of them have strong opinions about what intersex people should and should not be able to do anyway. Does this mean I don't want anyone to ever post about intersexuality? No! But if intersex people are included under the queer umbrella envisioned here, then I'm going to spend the month on edge, wondering if someone posted something about intersex awareness while I'm at work, and I'll come home to find a mess of a thread in which no out intersex people participated at all, leaving me feeling guilty and depressed. And if intersex people aren't considered "under the umbrella," then I would feel super-silenced and alienated.

What's needed in my mind, given that the mods have said they can only do so much, and it's really up to the community to mobilize and monitor and provide support, are concrete suggestions and plans being offered by others for how to address the concerns people have raised. Some good and kind individuals have promised that they will pay special attention and be ready to flag, but while appreciated, that is a patchy and reactive safety net. One example I could offer of a proactive response would be for people to volunteer to organize or to be in affinity groups made up of people ready and interested to have conversations about particular topics that are beyond-101-level, and beyond "hey you exist that is cool." Then, say, if I wanted to actually make a post on some intersex issue rather than on capybaras or whatever for #VisibilityMonth, I would know exactly how to contact a group of people to let them know it was happening, so that members could be there to start the conversation on a good foot. Conversely, whenever someone in the asexual-spectrum discussion/affinity group saw a post in which ace issues came up, they could alert the group, including its asexual members, so they'd know to hop over if available.

This is totally not about attacking people who are willing to organize things. For me, it's about focusing on building community and making people feel better about being sex, gender and sexual minority MeFites by really listening to concerns and figuring out how to address as many as possible before proceeding.
posted by DrMew at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


One example I could offer of a proactive response would be for people to volunteer to organize or to be in affinity groups made up of people ready and interested to have conversations about particular topics that are beyond-101-level, and beyond "hey you exist that is cool."

I actually really like this idea since I get the sense that a lot of queer people on this site already do this on an informal basis. There's a few fellow mefites that send me a bat signal whenever a thread is going badly or when they need support in making a point that might be received poorly or when they need support on a new post or when they need to vent about how clueless people are being, and vice versa. I'm always happy to expand my circle and my inbox is always open if anyone needs me to fill this role for sure.
posted by Conspire at 4:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know kalessin, you're not really leading me to feel like my thoughts have any value here whatsoever.
posted by hoyland at 4:52 PM on May 14, 2015


Like, actually it feels worse when it's coming from another trans person. I'm glad to know I'm just standing in your way for my own amusement.
posted by hoyland at 4:54 PM on May 14, 2015


kalessin, it sounds as though you are feeling worried and concerned that this month that you feel so good about will not happen. As a process question - is it more important to you that this month take place, or that this month take place in the same month as Pride?
posted by corb at 4:59 PM on May 14, 2015


I don't understand how your personal celebration of Pride hinges on this tag.
posted by hoyland at 5:09 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to signal throughout this post and the last that I'm open to discussion (and did in my previous comment!), so I feel blaming me for not wanting to talk is unreasonable. What "concessions" have you proposed?
posted by hoyland at 5:10 PM on May 14, 2015


And, yes, I'm pretty damn pissed off at this point.
posted by hoyland at 5:13 PM on May 14, 2015


So I suppose my question for you, kalessin, would be: If there were a way that you and others who wanted to could participate in a Metafilter celebration of Pride - maybe #JunePRIDE or something - would you be okay with the question of a #monthBY 'insert LGBT-like word here' being a lengthier discussion that would maybe ultimately be resolved a month or two from now? So that you would have a PRIDE month and potentially /also/ a #monthBY month?

hoyland, you have been doing a lot of emotional labor around this idea and it is completely reasonable for you to be stressed out and frustrated. It is always especially hard when attacks come from inside your community - I'm sorry this has been so rough. If kalessin and others were willing to move forward with a PRIDE celebration separately from the #monthBY issue, would that address your concerns?
posted by corb at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


One comment and I'll back out for a while--kalessin, I'm sorry you're feeling personally attacked. Personally, I would never presume to tell someone they shouldn't post something related to the US Pride month, or identify their posts with the tag #HeyByTheWayI'mTrans or whatever, and I wouldn't feel attacked by a queer person choosing to do a (an?) FP on a queer topic, in June or any other month. This discussion for me is about whether we are ready to proceed at this moment with the proposed formal "#JuneByQueers" as a community.
posted by DrMew at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


DrMew, thanks for your comments. I'm a queer (my pick of a bad lot of adjectives) cis woman and now I feel like I have some concrete ideas about how to participate in discussions around trans, intersex and asexual threads in a positive way instead of just staying quiet for fear of being offensive and/or flagging obviously offensive comments. Because the fact of it is that I do have cis privilege and don't necessarily have a nuanced understanding of the subtler issues, triggers, and offences, so they might go over my head. But this:

One example I could offer of a proactive response would be for people to volunteer to organize or to be in affinity groups made up of people ready and interested to have conversations about particular topics that are beyond-101-level, and beyond "hey you exist that is cool." Then, say, if I wanted to actually make a post on some intersex issue rather than on capybaras or whatever for #VisibilityMonth, I would know exactly how to contact a group of people to let them know it was happening, so that members could be there to start the conversation on a good foot.

I can do that! (As long as affinity groups aren't necessarily composed solely of trans/intersex/asexual people, but can also include allies who can be respectful and have something other to say than "hey, go you!" etc.)

I understand so much that it is exhausting to be educating people all the time. So the other thing I thought of was that there is actually a lot of stuff out there to help people get their heads round various things (why certain terms for trans people are offensive, myths about trans people, that kind of thing), do people think it would be helpful to put together a kind of essential reading list for those interested in proactively participating and/or flagging unhelpful comments? It could help us allies educate ourselves so that we can be more effective.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am NOT comfortable just calling a halt to the idea of celebrating Pride Month in a visibility sort of way. I may choose to post as a self-identified trans person and post about non lgbt*-esque topics and if I do, I don't want to hear from anyone that in doing so I am some how abridging their rights.

To me, self-expression trumps people feeling rushed. It also trumps people feeling somehow coerced by my exercising my ability to and, some might say, constitutional right to express myself.


Nobody is saying that US mefites can't celebrate pride month - just that maybe rushing this initiative through in order for it to coincide therewith might not be the best idea in light of how all of this has gone. Besides which june-as-pride-month is a uniquely American thing as far as I can tell (but then mefi so often gives off an 'American website for American people' vibe, and this plus the talk of "constitutional rights" with respect to mefi community decisions rather reinforces that feeling). In the UK we do something similar in February, for example. But by all means celebrate pride and exercise your right to free speech - but doing both of those things on metafilter, in the manner of something about which the discussion has gone as poorly as this? That would be in bad taste in my opinion, and would sure as fuck not make me particularly positively inclined toward efforts of this nature in future.

TL;DR - we had a long huge discussion about this, it didn't go well, no consensus was reached, we can all try and work on it again sometime a little down the line without the arbitrary june deadline, or people can just go ahead and steamroller all the objections and objectors and effectively poison the well on this one by completely ignoring the objections.


...and all because "silence=death" and constitutional rights to free speech. Dude.
posted by Dysk at 1:17 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


So wait, what's going on this June?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:46 AM on May 15, 2015


And with regard to visibility in general:

I'm trans, and I am sick of that being mentioned, noted, or coming up in contexts where it isn't relevant. I have absolutely no problem being out about my being trans (and I don't get much of a choice in meatspace really, what with it being literally rather than figuratively visible) but I also don't need to spend basically every moment thinking or worrying about my gender. When it specifically informs my perspective or opinions, I will mention that I am trans in a comment, for example, but when it is not, I don't. In meatspace, I don't always get this choice - a lot of interactions are very much coloured by my gender, even if it's a conversation about something completely unrelated, like jet engines or skillets, because it affects how people interact with me in myriad ways. It'd be a pretty cool luxury to have here, to be able to not think or worry about it sometimes, when I don't want to.

So yes, visibility is a mixed bag for me (and many other trans people). Sometimes it's desired, other times it's not. If and when I want visibility, it's either because it's relevant to the discussion at hand, or as something completely mundane, unremarked upon, not having attention called to it. Calling attention to it with a tag is anathema to that (and just being out in other threads and on my profile achieves it anyway, to an extent that satisfies me). Trans women in particular are treated as freakshows and drawn attention to more often than most other gender and sexual minority groups, so it's hardly surprising that blanket visibility - rather than the choice to control when we are visible and when we are not - is not necessarily viewed similarly by trans people - particularly trans women - somewhat differently. I'm speaking in broad generalities here, and obviously do not reflect everyone's views, but my experience of activist and queer groups suggests that this is generally how it plays out.

It's part of the same dynamic that occasionally causes a situation to occur where someone misgenders me and someone else corrects them with "no, it's 'her', she's a trans woman". The word 'trans' in that sentence is completely unnecessary, not germane to the point being made, and feels uncomfortably othering and/or psuedo-sensationalist.

That is why I won't be taking part. As a trans woman, one thing I sure as hell don't struggle for is visibility. It's respect.

But by all means, for those to whom it would be useful, go ahead. Calling it an LGBT initiative, however, at a stage when the overwhelming majority of trans people who had spoken out were against it or did not see themselves included for reasons we have gone into at great length in this thread and the other, that would've been a problem though. (With a few trans people in favour having spoken up, I would now characterise it as a majority rather than an overwhelming majority.) And the way this whole discussion has gone has soured me yet further. I do share the frustration with what feels like a tokenistic 'celebration' of a group the mefi does not necessarily treat particularly well as a whole, especially in light of the exodus of active trans members in the last few years.
posted by Dysk at 2:44 AM on May 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


odinsdream: I am kinda failing to put this into words too well, but it's that visibility thing that's more on the mundane spectrum that interests me. Where people just become aware of more trans people, and get their weird-ass notions and fears disabused by a kind of osmosis-effect.

This is also the kind of visibility that I was thinking about, fwiw.
posted by daisyk at 5:02 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


My experience of that kind of visibility had largely been it leading to a shift from being left alone or treated politely because people don't know what to make of me or how to talk about it to a much greater prevalence of 'i have Opinions on trans people and I will make sure to tell you them and make a Thing out of your transness'. This can both take the form of abuse or of a sort of weird need to perform acceptance. Neither is great.

Perhaps it's a cultural thing to some extent - here in the UK people tend less toward hostility for things they don't understand our relate to. Things that are part of popular consciousness however, well suddenly everyone has that aforementioned Opinion.
posted by Dysk at 5:47 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


rushing this initiative through in order

The first thread about this was posted May 5, so nearly a month in advance of June. Just how many months of notice are really necessary for an optional thread tagging campaign?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:54 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


In the thread above this one, Spitbull says that with his "self parody" comment he meant to refer to the mean tone of the discussion, rather than to attack Trans people for their input.

That's not exactly what he said. He said "my sole comment in the JuneBy thread was (in its entirety) "we are descending into self parody," and was a reference to the meanness of the discussion, not the topic.

And it's true here too." Which is a good bit less affirmative than saying he didn't mean "to attack Trans people for their input."

For reference, here is his comment in another big thread about trans* issues, where someone had gamed the community to attach trans* users:
This entire thread is sublime parody.
posted by spitbull at 7:37 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites +] [!]


This entire thread is sublime parody.

Of what?
posted by knapah at 7:46 AM on March 20, 2014 [+] [!]


Of this kind of thread. Of the obsessions of about 20 Mefites who have countless ways of saying the same thing, in thread after thread. The trick, for me personally, has been to learn to read MeTa as comedy gold. Who needs Portlandia?
posted by spitbull at 8:01 AM on March 20, 2014 [8 favorites +] [!]
That doesn't read to me as solely about tone either, but even if it is, are threads about issues of oppression and self-identity really the best place to voice that opinion in that way?
posted by OmieWise at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hey, kalessin, I do want to say that I am sure that a #MonthBy event would be exciting to a lot of other people--we saw enthusiasm in this thread.

Personally, I think that this thread and the "tramp stamp"/boyzone one fit together well, in that they show that if an FPP is made about a topic relating to a marginalized group, there is currently a good chance that some people will come in and derail the thing by making comments voicing nasty assumptions about the group. The thing is, when that group is women, there are a whole lot of MeFites who will see it and check it, producing a derailed discussion, but at least one where the large majority is calling out misogyny. But when the group is numerically smaller and is more socially marginal, we don't even have that not-ideal outcome. And we need to figure out a way to address that as a community.

I get the sense the mods are feeling receptive to having misogynist/racist/phobic/etc. comments framed as derails and being more proactive about removing them so we can have actual discussions of the topics of FPPs. Combining this will having allies of smaller marginalized groups available to help start off discussions at an above-101 level, I think we could significantly improve the chances of FPPs on topics related to our statuses being sophisticated and on-topic. That would certainly make me feel better about the idea of posting, and hopefully others as well.

I think a fresh MetaTalk post to discuss this is probably the best idea, but I'm in my end-of-semester grading frenzy and have to make myself scarce for a few days. Input on that idea would be great.
posted by DrMew at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


That doesn't read to me as solely about tone either, but even if it is, are threads about issues of oppression and self-identity really the best place to voice that opinion in that way?

Omiewise, are you asking me specifically?
My answer is, I don't think so. My motive in posting what I did was to let people know spitbull isn't around and to link to the last thing he said in explanation for reference. I thought it would be helpful since a handful of people were reacting to his posts.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:36 AM on May 15, 2015


Where people just become aware of more trans people, and get their weird-ass notions and fears disabused by a kind of osmosis-effect.

I think that kind of mundane "X group of people are (gasp!) human" visibility is a good thing. I'm undecided as to whether tagging posts for a theme month in the ways that have been proposed help foster it, though. I don't think they do. It feels more like a spotlight has been thrown on trans members to explain why they don't feel comfortable with the idea, or why they do, or why they're ambivalent--which has led to trans members explaining a whole myriad of very multifaceted things.

That's fine, if people are up for that explanation, but I got the sense that most people participating haven't been. I'll speak for myself here and say that I've been participating in these MeTas out of a sense of, I guess, tired obligation. I didn't really want to take part in the discussions, but got drawn into them in order to expand and clarify and underline things that would otherwise be steamrolled over.

I don't actually like these discussions. Whatever spitbull's intentions, they're not wrong to characterize them as the same small group of people repeating themselves. The most-favorited comments I get are always these hand-wringing things about trans issues and experiences. I feel weird about that. That isn't the role I want with the rest of the site, and it never has been. I'm willing to speak up if people listen and things progress, but I hate knowing that there are only a small number of familiar users who will speak up, if I don't. We've been through this countless times. It's really tiring. That's why I sort of want fewer trans posts: they put a burden on a small subset of the community every single time they come up*.

It's sort of paradoxical. MetaFilter is just not ready for the kind of projects proposed here; but these things will be totally unnecessary if the site does become ready for them.

* I want to give a shout out to this post for being a great post about a really interesting thing about a trans person that doesn't even a little bit invite the usual, "Let's debate if trans people are real." Posts like that, I think, can do a lot to boost the sort of mundane visibility that can help shift people's hostile attitudes and crazy beliefs. It can be really difficult to make a similar post about contemporary trans people without tilting into either hand-wringing or glurge, though.
posted by byanyothername at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


kalessin: In the US this lack of shutting up has a lot of stigma attached to it. It tends to paint a person as an extremist who's looking for a fight, because if you never shut up, are always on, then you can never be trusted to settle, nice and quiet, into an easily characterized group or an easily understood movement.

For whatever it's worth (and this is more of a meta comment, not about this specific thread,) you have never come across to me as one of those extremists, because you also listen to others. In my experience, the extremists who don't shut up are interested in dictating their point of view, not engaging in conversation.
posted by zarq at 10:45 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


For reference, here is his comment in another big thread about...

Wait, I thought we didn't do this to other members...or do we do it, now?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:41 PM on May 15, 2015


I wish JuneByBisexual wasn't so clumsy sounding. I feel like I'm tripping over my tongue... and JuneByBi seems like the tag to go with mudpuppie's idea to just delete the month. (And yes, I do hope to post with one of those tags. I like being visible and I feel hidden a lot.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, this might be a bit out there - but since a) a number of people have said that, unlike what we saw in months by women, they don't feel their sexual/gender identity is a barrier from posting, b) we have concerns about timing, and c) visibility seems to be a longer haul issue, why does this tag even need to be a month? We could simply make this a permanent voluntary tag for those who want greater visibility, as a site convention?
posted by Conspire at 10:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Conspire (and Brandon Blatcher), I would be in favour of a convention like that and I would use it myself.

I also think the affinity groups idea from DrMew is a good one.
posted by daisyk at 12:42 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


So is the suggestion a tag (i.e. using umbrella terminology), or a format of tags (where we could tag our individual identities, using multiple tags if desired to express different identity dimensions, but using the #postby form to make it easier to spot)?

Or both, if you want to be both under the umbrella and specific?
posted by mittens at 6:03 AM on May 16, 2015


When I saw the first MeTa, I was glad to see some effort at visibility...that sentiment quickly devolved to wariness as the concerns about visibility for trans* folk were raised. I definitely thought that we would discuss this more and get a more solid consensus among members whose identities place on the GSM spectrum, because replicating the meatspace dynamics of erasure when talking about the "Umbrella" would be a painful thing to do.

Between the way this thread rolled and the comment from someone saying that they don't give a shit about people like me, I will definitely not be participating in a #JuneBy event. If a tag eventually appears that I can use to identify myself when posting, I'll happily use it. But it is clear that I need to seek community with other GSM folk elsewhere.
posted by Ashen at 6:27 AM on May 16, 2015


So I find it incredibly amusing that I am now a type. But it's well deserved and I will wear it. I am that never shutting up U.S. type of trans person who wraps the U.S. flag around emself while e spouts stuff like I AM TRANS while posting about knife sharpening or raman spectroscopy or the local foods movement or whatever else neat things we haven't talked about for a while or never talked about on the blue. Because like odinsdream and daisyk, what really inspired me about the #JuneBy proposal was that we could just post things that would be normal for the blue and be outwardly trans while doing so.

kalessin, I'm feeling kind of hurt that you've come to the conclusion that I (and seemingly anyone else who disagrees with you) prefer to shut up about being trans (and, above, that I don't identify as queer). I'm not going to pretend I'm the most out person ever (I mean, there are Mefites I'm good friends with IRL who I don't think knew I was trans until this shitstorm erupted, and maybe still don't if they haven't read this far), but I also ought not to feel like I'm expected to provide a resume of activist activities to not be assumed to be someone ashamed of who I am. I'm naturally cynical and I feel like I've been burned by Metafilter enough times that I didn't (and don't) feel like I was being given an opportunity to be out without immediately being reduced to my queer or trans identities, which would be cool, but that I was being used to give others an opportunity to, stealing a phrase from dysk, performance acceptance.
posted by hoyland at 6:39 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Between the way this thread rolled and the comment from someone saying that they don't give a shit about people like me

Which comment was that?



When I was writing the paragraph you quoted, it was in direct response to Dysk

In which case you seem to misunderstanding me entirely.
posted by Dysk at 8:04 AM on May 16, 2015


I wish JuneByBisexual wasn't so clumsy sounding. I feel like I'm tripping over my tongue... and JuneByBi seems like the tag to go with mudpuppie's idea to just delete the month. (And yes, I do hope to post with one of those tags. I like being visible and I feel hidden a lot.)

#JuneBothWays?
#JuneBiSexuals?
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:02 AM on May 16, 2015


why does this tag even need to be a month? We could simply make this a permanent voluntary tag for those who want greater visibility, as a site convention?

I am absolutely on board with this as a much better response to the idea of visibility.

Perhaps, as cortex suggested, an overall tag (#BlueUmbrella maybe? yeah I'm stuck on 'umbrella' as a term that includes anyone non-gender/non-sexual-orientation normative as self-identified, without having any of the baggage of queer/rainbow/pride/$acronym that could be hurtful or exclusionary), with an equally optional sub-tag for the poster to specify which part of the umbrella they fall under? Maybe #By____Person?

#BlueCoalition might work, too.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2015


#JuneBothWays?

Oh sweet Jesus no.
posted by mittens at 11:37 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it would still be important to tag by identity rather than by a general umbrella tag even if it were a non-monthly initiative, however. I suggested that in mind with the consideration that different groups/identities/people might have different needs or levels of buy-in - for instance, we've heard from some bisexual members that they desire greater visibility but from some trans members that they might find this stressful. I think there's less stress and pressure on people who haven't brought into this initiative yet to buy in if it's a long drawn out thing rather than compacted in the course of a month - I'm sensing a lot of the tension here is coming from people who haven't brought in feeling that they're being unduly pressured into doing so by those already wanting to go ahead, and those who want to go ahead feeling blocked by those who are hesitant. So in this circumstance, I feel like the solution is to just split up and let those who are ready to move forward move already - but if we do that, we need to represent this as less of a cohesive group umbrella statement but rather a personal decision. So that's why I'd consider it important to tag by identity rather by lgbt/queer/umbrella.
posted by Conspire at 12:11 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you want longer term than just a month, why not have a box on profile pages for sexuality? (There's already one there for gender, where people can decide if they want to have transgender as part of it or not, put genderfluid, or whatever else describes themselves well.) I don't know if sexuality was left off deliberately, but if people want it visible all the time, we could talk about adding it to the profile.

I don't think I'd want to tag my rare posts as Bisexual forever; it's different having a shorter term thing than framing everything I do on the blue through it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:40 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't have a position on whether to do this, but just a thought on that kind of not-a-month tagging. Maybe a tag could be #visibleGroupname, or something like that, where "visibility" (or another term for the goal people are aiming for with the tagging) is in the tag.

As another aside re: tagging, I'm sure most people know this but I will mention it in case people don't realize. Your most frequent tags show up on your profile page, so if you tag a few posts this way that identification will show up on your profile page, and of course your tags are visible to nonmembers as well as members. If you apply a tag to your post, you can remove it yourself at any time, but I don't know how quickly that change propagates to your frequently-used-tags list.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it would still be important to tag by identity rather than by a general umbrella tag even if it were a non-monthly initiative, however.

Aye, which is why I suggested a group tag for a) an acknowledgement that as non-normative in a gender and/or sexuality sense we do have a common bond a/o coalition-building, b) people who want to identify as non-normative without being terribly specific, c) a way to encourage cross-pollination of ideas, d) covering intersectionality (e.g. lesbian and trans, or any combination of anything) for those who don't want to append a sub-list of whatever labels are important to their identity. And then the additional tag, if wanted, for people who specifically want to identify as _____. (Or as ____ and ____ and ______.)

My point being that we'd then have, as a convention, the idea that people can self-identify into the umbrella/spectrum/coalition in a general way, and then drill down into specifics as needed/wanted. Does that makes sense? I could see, for example, given your commentary and hoyland's, some people might want to say "yes I am a member of this general grouping" without wanting potential flak from identifying which particular segment(s) of that group they identify with. By the same token, I can see people wanting to say "I am this specific sort of person and I belong to this larger general group."

I guess what I'm suggesting is flexibility, so people don't feel they have to specifically out themselves or not participate; they can increase their visibility in whatever way is best for them in the specific context.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:28 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I double-checked, and the change in tags propagates to your "frequently used tags" instantly.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 16, 2015


Aye, which is why I suggested a group tag for a) an acknowledgement that as non-normative in a gender and/or sexuality sense we do have a common bond a/o coalition-building, b) people who want to identify as non-normative without being terribly specific, c) a way to encourage cross-pollination of ideas, d) covering intersectionality (e.g. lesbian and trans, or any combination of anything) for those who don't want to append a sub-list of whatever labels are important to their identity. And then the additional tag, if wanted, for people who specifically want to identify as _____. (Or as ____ and ____ and ______.)

In an ideal world, we would be aiming for these goals, but the situation here is that I and others have no faith that we will not be thrown under the bus again. You cannot skip ahead to ideals without accounting for that history, or else you leave the most vulnerable in a community behind. Quite frankly, I explicitly disavow the use of my own identity or experiences in the construction of a "community" or "umbrella" ot "coalition" or even a "common experience" at this stage; I have no faith that more privileged voices will not erase my identity to claim a common voice on a goal and shove all of the heavy lifting on me. If we go ahead with a unified tag, I will make it clear it does not represent my identity, and therefore, does not represent all queer people.

So this is different from using a more generalistic term to identify yourself - I have no qualms with someone calling themselves queer or lgbt or whatever. But there's a difference between minimizing the violence that less privileged members have suffered at the hands of more to claim that a common identity even exists at this stage anymore.
posted by Conspire at 2:02 PM on May 16, 2015


If there's no common identity, what exactly is your dog in this fight then? If there's no common identity, what possible way is there to include you in any way other than trans people only?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:08 PM on May 16, 2015


I mean.. everyone is saying yes! we want to include trans people!

And you're saying you don't want to be included. So I'm confused as to what we're supposed to do, exactly.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:15 PM on May 16, 2015


I think you see LGBT umbrellas as implicit rather than constructed. I'm not saying it's impossible to construct one that's inclusive of people, but I'm saying that it's clear from these discussions that trying to invoke a coalition now within the context of this site is not going to work - there has not been enough space and time for trust and consensus to build that you can state that we all can be included under a common umbrella just yet, and any attempts to do so will erase the voices of those who feel too vulnerable to be represented in one. I could potentially be brought around if you all started tagging things with your own identities and then over time, seeing that the discussions have been respectful and inclusive so I could feel that this is a good idea for my own identities; but to cement in a common definition right now is going to shut me out and demonstrate that there isn't space in this initiative for me.
posted by Conspire at 2:25 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Common tag for everyone who posts as non-normative to post under.

Plus specific tags for specifically making yourself visible as a particular segment(s) of that population.

How, exactly how, does this scheme erase your voice?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:33 PM on May 16, 2015


Right. I think this is just becoming one of your usual back and forths where you just respond to everything I say by repeating the exact same thing louder each time. I'm not feeling charitable enough to rehash out the concerns that I and others have raised over the course of dozens of careful comments in the past two threads, so I'm going to just leave it at that.
posted by Conspire at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not. I do not understand how saying "this is me, here I am" is erasure. Before you say it, yes, I have read every word you've posted in this thread and the other.

And, frankly, I have to keep repeating the same thing because you so frequently misrepresent what I have said.

But, fine, go do what you want to do.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:52 PM on May 16, 2015


fffm, at this point maybe let this rest.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:00 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:00 PM on May 16, 2015


I will bow out of this now unless for some reason someone wishes to further engage with me, but I doubt that's likely.

Come back soon, ifjuly, or some of us will miss having occasional HNIA flashbacks.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:54 PM on May 16, 2015


I think it would still be important to tag by identity rather than by a general umbrella tag even if it were a non-monthly initiative.

It's funny, but it was this idea--not from any coalition point of view, not from any theoretical or political point of view, but just the idea of "specifying my identity on a tag" rather than the safe cozy blanket of an indeterminate umbrella term--that made me have to take a step back and question just how much visibility I'm willing to withstand.

In the past when I've tried for very specific visibility, there's always been the issue of, "Sorry, but you're not really X enough for us. You're too whatever we're not. It shouldn't take you a paragraph to name yourself. It shouldn't take a book." And of course, there is just the sheer cost of specific visibility as everyone has pointed out so very, very clearly.

It's weird to think just how much I thought of an umbrella term as a way to hide.
posted by mittens at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


the situation here is that I and others have no faith that we will not be thrown under the bus again.

It sounds like what you're saying, Conspire, is that you feel that given the often different needs that the trans and the LGB community have, you are uncomfortable with LGB individuals trying to include trans folk in their community before they have done the hard work of getting you to trust them. Would that be an accurate read?
posted by corb at 8:07 PM on May 16, 2015


I'm not trans myself, so I can't speak to that, but I feel marginalized out of the mainstream LGB community in similar ways due to race and disability. So if you substitute that for trans, I agree with your assessment, and I'll add that when this is not done, our voices and identities are stolen from us and used as tools to advance goals for those who already have inclusion in the community, by stating that their goals are for the advancement of "all queers" - even when their actions actively damage or work contrary to those who do not have inclusion in the community. So if the goal is to draw a boundary with the word LGBT or queer or whatever, my request is that if my identity is not actually included in this in which my concerns have actively been listened to - and part of this means understanding that since these initiatives have thrown us under the bus so frequently that I need space to observe that your actions (and not simply your words and intent) are actually inclusive - I would rather a community identifier be drawn in a way that does not falsely portray me as being included. mittens makes a good point that LGBT/queer labels are often used as a way to hide things, but consider at whose expense that is done at. If a community is transphobic, or if it is racist or ableist, the claim of an all-inclusive umbrella identity allows for the sweeping of these issues under the carpet. I want communities to take ownership of their ableism and racism - if you are comfortable with socially drawing a line to leave me out, but then want to borrow my name and identity to drive your own causes, I refuse to let that happen, and would prefer you to label your group identifier in a way that explicitly leaves me out and leaves your ableism and racism transparent. If that makes you uncomfortable, resolve the ableism and racism first before trying to call me one of you.
posted by Conspire at 9:17 PM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's not so much a 'T' vs 'LGB' thing, but that happens to be a common and fairly straightforward example of the dynamic Conspire's describing.

For a different kind of example, no one's exactly going to argue they don't want the ability to get married (sorry, I'm stuck on LGBT examples), but some queer people wish even a fraction of that energy was being spent on health care or immigration or prison reform or homelessness (all of which can affect queer people in different ways to non-queer people) because that's going to make a way bigger difference in their community than whether they can get married. And then when the HRC is all marriage, all the time, it's pretty frustrating that people think the HRC represents What LGBT People Want (with capital letters). (So to relate this back to this situation, Conspire is going to be fed up with 'what LGBT people want' meaning 'what white LGBT people want' or 'what LGBT people without disabilities want', trans people are going to be sick of it meaning 'what cis people want', bi people are going to be sick of it meaning 'what monosexual people want', and so on. It's so common for 'LGBT' to be used to mean 'only a tiny, specific group of queer people' that everyone else gets into the habit of thinking 'Do you actually mean me? Or are you just pretending (knowingly or not) and eventually I'll get burned?' For example, if the HRC says "Hey, we're focusing on immigration/trans issues/whatever! Isn't that great?', I think 'yeah, great, how long is it going to last this time?', but if the NCLR says the same thing, I trust them to at least make a decent effort.)
posted by hoyland at 8:47 AM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've added a little statement to the top of my profile which I may refer to (depending on if jessamyn or whoever reviews my posts for me thinks it would help) in those hypothetical FPPs.

I like the wording. I do worry a little that people will turn around and say "Look, no one was a jerk in kalessin's posts, we should totally do that theme month!" when I think the question of whether people are jerks to you when you post about pineapples is kind of orthogonal to the question of the appropriateness of a theme month. (I realise we probably disagree on whether it's orthogonal to that question.) It would be interesting to see if having someone consistently sticking their head above the parapet leads to the trans-related posts that aren't so tagged going better (then I'd cave and say there might be a point to this theme month business).
posted by hoyland at 8:53 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to point up what I think are a couple of really good comments by Dysk and Conspire (this one too: I think the question of whether LGBT umbrellas are implicit or constructed is near the heart of the difficulties we've had in these threads).

I'm going to try tagging my FPPs as well. Let's see how that goes. kalessin, if you're going to use #IAmTrans (etc.), maybe I'll go with #IAmQueer and/or #IAmGenderqueer. I might adapt your text for my profile too, if that's okay.

(I won't be using positive threads as a future argument for having a theme month if this question comes up again, since I feel it would be up to the people who have been hesitant or opposed to such an event to say how the results have made them feel, not those who have been in favour from the start.)
posted by daisyk at 9:04 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks, kalessin and daisyk! I'm still tottering on the fence about whether I'll personally do this just yet, but I'm feeling a lot more excited about watching this take shape now. Even though this all started off pretty bumpy, I feel less pressured to toss my ring into the hat now we don't have a month looming over us to rush for, and now that it's a person-by-person initiative where we're free to join in at any time. I feel heard here and I'm really happy that other members are taking my feedback into account.
posted by Conspire at 9:30 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is from a member who wishes to remain anonymous:
I'm concerned about how the idea of having a one-month project centered around a group identity has morphed into the proposal that people's identities be attached to posts on an open-ended basis.

As it stood, I was planning on not posting anything during June, that being the only way of ducking the double-bind of either tagging my posts (thus publicly identifying with a community I'm not entirely on board with) or not tagging my posts (thus implicitly identifying as not being anywhere on the QUILTBAG spectrum). That, at least, could be managed by a short hiatus; having tagging being done on a non-time-bound basis would make the problem permanent.

It also represents a fundamental shift in what tags are for. #JulyByWomen and such confined the expansion to tagging posts that were part of a limited project; using tags to instead represent information about the posters is new territory. And the proposed addition of adding explanatory text in the FPPs themselves would seem to violate the Mefi-is-not-your-blog rule. Until now, the only place for such things have been people's profiles, and I'm uncomfortable with expanding it beyond that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:54 AM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


the possibility where we all keep silent about identity [...] would, were I to respect it, totally silence my ability to self-identify

Well, to self-identify in the tags -- I mean, you would still be free, as everybody is now, to self-identify on your profile page or in comments.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:15 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm sympathetic to the concern over changing the role of tags or the focus on members' identities as opposed to just posts. (But of course, we've done the focus-on-identity thing with JulyByWomen and that worked fine.)

I want this to be a decent place for people who are gender or sexuality minorities (or whatever phrasing works). I don't want to put anybody on the spot, or make people feel like they're being thrown into some kind of unwanted wrangling over their identities just in order to post or participate. I don't want to encourage any kind of weird focus-on-the-poster thing, since that can go to bad places. On the other hand I get the impulse toward visibility.

So I'm not sure. I don't have a firm position on any of this, and have just been reading along and noodling over what people have said in here, and I was glad to hear from the anon commenter as well.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:26 AM on May 17, 2015


I'll email the list. Not everybody is around today, so it may not yield an answer quickly.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2015


The anonymous commenter's concerns about the changing the roles of tags and so on are definitely relevant things to bring up, and I'm glad they have. I don't have any particular answers to those things myself. I do think that this tagging-with-identities idea will get a slow enough start that we, and the mods, can keep an eye out for any troubling changes in dynamics.

I'm really sympathetic to the double bind that the anonymous commenter has brought up. I don't want to put them in a difficult position! But I don't think it's the case that not tagging with your identity will carry any implicit message that a poster is not LGBTQIA+. For one thing, there have been quite a lot of people in these two threads, already, stating that they won't be joining in with the MonthBy or with an ongoing, voluntary tagging project. For another, the tagging project as currently proposed is very much an opt-in kind of thing (and might just and up as me and kalessin...). Plus, the numbers of MeFites who read MeTa/read tags/use extensive tags/etc. are very far from being 100%. I honestly doubt the voluntary tagging would be noticed enough to cause any assumptions about non-participants.

---

On preview: thanks, LobsterMitten.
posted by daisyk at 11:45 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


But I don't think it's the case that not tagging with your identity will carry any implicit message that a poster is not LGBTQIA+. For one thing, there have been quite a lot of people in these two threads, already, stating that they won't be joining in with the MonthBy or with an ongoing, voluntary tagging project.

On the other hand, in the other thread, it was assumed no trans people had commented after two or three had because no one had prefaced their comment with "as a trans person". It's not something I'd be too concerned about if a handful of people are using identity-based tags, but if it catches on, I would be. I think it's also a question of numbers. If you're one a few hundred (a few thousand?) cis queer people and you're not using identity-based tags, you've got a hundred other people making that same choice. There are maybe 20 trans Mefites, and that's going to make the choice feel different.
posted by hoyland at 3:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I feel there's a difference between kalessin and daisyk (and whoever else is still reading this and into the idea) giving it a go and trying to make it an organised thing. The latter is a lot more treacherous than the former.
posted by hoyland at 3:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, a few of the mods have weighed in on this and the general thought seems to be, this is an ok approach and we can see how it goes. People have always been free to do as they pleased with their tags, provided they weren't somehow being an asshole. Continuing that approach means people can pursue this kind of identity tagging project if they like, subject to the Don't Be An Asshole Proviso. Folks can hash out any issues in here, as you've all been doing. If there comes to be a problem with it or people feeling pressured or misrepresented or like the implementation isn't working out, we can talk about that when it happens.

Explanatory text in the post itself would be out of keeping with MeFi convention, IMO, exactly because of the your-own-blog/focus-on-the-poster issue. So I think it's better to skip that and stick to tags for the time being.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to the concern over changing the role of tags or the focus on members' identities as opposed to just posts. (But of course, we've done the focus-on-identity thing with JulyByWomen and that worked fine.)

Which brings us back to this sort of tag-based project being great for its original purpose - encouraging groups who are disproportionately unlikely to post FPPs relative to their representation on Mefi - but perhaps not as great a tool for visibility (in the sense that is used with respect to queer sexualities and identities).
posted by Dysk at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't been commenting, just taking advantage of the fact that hoyland's concerns have been similar to my own. Just figured I'd toss that in there now, since representation stuff was mentioned. I don't mind if anybody else feels differently and wants to do their own thing, and I do not post much at all, but I don't want to feel like I'm letting anybody down by not tagging my posts as by a trans person. I'm also kind of over trans topics here on MeFi, honestly.
posted by Corinth at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2015


So as someone who's read about 90% of this thread since my initially-enthusiastic comment at the top, the evolution of discussion has been interesting and in several places informative for me to read through. After reading LobsterMitten's recent weigh in and the anon comment, I just wanted to throw out a thought:

Tagging-for-visibility wasn't the only goal or byproduct of the #ByWomen months. Instead, having a month long event with advance planning allowed the community of posters to plan to increase their in-thread activity to make those threads a better/safer/awesomer place both for posters self-identifying as women, and for everyone talking about women's issues on Metafilter.

This thread has gotten crazy long, but it seems like despite the lack of consensus on tagging posts in the last several hundred comments, there's broad support for the idea of pushing to make LGBTQIA+ discussion on MeFi better via more aggressive flagging of offensive comments and derails, and a greater number of people shouldering the weight of shifting the discussion away from 101-level education. This sort of effort is ideally suited to a monthlong event.

Would it make sense to decouple the tagging issue entirely, and schedule a month where the many MeFi members who clearly care about the issues raised in this thread put in a concerted effort to try to make any queer-related discussion happening on the Blue a) not suck and b) perhaps even be unusually great?
posted by deludingmyself at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


This sort of effort is ideally suited to a monthlong event.

I mean, to be clear: it's ideally suited to every single day, but having a bunch of people doing this at once for a bit has the potential to really shift the tone and mitigate burnout in a way that just talking about what we'd like to see in general doesn't really address.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:53 PM on May 17, 2015


Would it make sense to decouple the tagging issue entirely, and schedule a month where the many MeFi members who clearly care about the issues raised in this thread put in a concerted effort to try to make any queer-related discussion happening on the Blue a) not suck and b) perhaps even be unusually great?

If it's at all helpful, I'd be happy to be considered a "bat signal" ally, along the lines of what DrMew suggested above. I would very much welcome anyone who trusts me enough on issues of gender or sexual minorities and thinks I could be helpful in a thread to MeMail me before they post if they want some back-up, in terms of rerailing threads or flagging shitty comments. (I have no hang-ups about flagging things.) My schedule is weird, in terms of when I'm in front of a computer, but I'll let anyone know if I won't be in front of a computer when they need me.
posted by jaguar at 10:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dysk, I am having trouble teasing out the subtleties of what you'd like to see happen or not happen. Would you feel comfortable talking about that at all? It seems like there has been some agreement come to with both Conspire and hoyland, but you don't seem to agree that any of this is a good idea.

I'm not sure what subtleties there are to tease out. I don't think this is a good idea.
posted by Dysk at 1:06 AM on May 18, 2015


Like, if you want increased visibility on Mefi, there may be a way to acheive that, but this is in my opinion not it.
posted by Dysk at 2:04 AM on May 18, 2015


It's been explained pretty well already, I feel.
posted by Dysk at 6:12 AM on May 18, 2015


Would it make sense to decouple the tagging issue entirely, and schedule a month where the many MeFi members who clearly care about the issues raised in this thread put in a concerted effort to try to make any queer-related discussion happening on the Blue a) not suck and b) perhaps even be unusually great?

I think it would've helped if that were part of the original proposal, or the more formal hashout here. It would have made me feel better about the idea, in any case. One way this is different from #MonthByWomen is that I don't think you can fully divorce the political realities from the posts, here. For the womens' months, it's easier to encourage women to post about whatever without their being women coloring their posts, and for folks to commit to an effort to curb knee-jerk misogyny, because "women" are a significantly huger group and the community's more well versed in recognizing and countering misogyny. This isn't really the case with a lot of BGLITA identities and posts, so an extra bit of, "Got your back," would've helped a lot.
posted by byanyothername at 10:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, bear in mind that it just takes time. I personally still feel somewhat burned by the way trans topics have been handled on the site. I have this vague sense that a lot of progressive people (not limited to MetaFilter) want to flip a 1/0 switch on their allyship, but that has to be earned gradually through actions as well as words. You can't expect people to completely trust you if you go from reinforcing transphobia to verbally supporting trans rights (but maybe still reinforcing transphobia in a lot of your actions). There's a learning process and a healing process to bridge-building that I think American progressives want to always just skip in civil rights, which leads to a lot of problems becoming invisible instead of getting addressed and resolved.
posted by byanyothername at 10:44 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


In celebration of this post reaching 350 replies without any resolution occurring, I have decided to donate $350 to an organization that actually does something - the Human Rights Campaign.

Action is better than inaction, and progress is better than the status quo.
posted by saeculorum at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2015


saeculorum, supporting charity is great but this seems like a needlessly dickish way to broach your giving decision. You don't need to participate in these discussions, but if you haven't been then it's probably a better idea to keep sass about the failure of them to accomplish something you consider meaningful to yourself.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Action is not a different animal from thinking and discussion: those are also actions. You are not required to take those actions and only them in particular, and you are also not required to announce your disrespect for them, the people who engage in them, and how much more useful your actions are.
posted by rtha at 12:23 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's a pretty good illustration of the problem trans people have in getting our issues addressed under the "umbrella", though. I totally get how an ignorant person -- and I say this with no malice towards the ignorant -- would assume that an organisation that advocates for gay rights would also work for trans rights. And yet.
posted by these are science wands at 12:35 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, saeculorum is the person who wrote the contemptuously dismissive "you are seriously overthinking Metafilter and life in general" comment early in the thread.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't tell if you're telling us you're giving to HRC just to be a jerk and support an organization that is both by reputation and action the worst of mainstream gay fundraising and minimizing of trans issues and people, or if you aren't aware that HRC is that organization and are trying to be well intentioned here. If this is well intentioned, then thank you, and let me offer some other options.

If you want to support a national organization that does broader work on trans-inclusive issues, may I suggest the National LGBTQ Task Force, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, or National Center for Transgender Equality?
posted by gingerbeer at 1:24 PM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm also always irritated by this fake setup of "talking means not doing" as if people who are talking only and ever only talk, and do not also do things like volunteer and serve on committees and donate money and so on. It's lazy intellectual sneering at a false dichotomy that some people employ as a way to make themselves bigger and other people smaller, is what it seems like.
posted by rtha at 1:27 PM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


"I think it would be good to clarify that I agreed with saeclorum's idea about progress and not the snippy bits."

For what it's worth -- and not much, as I'm cishet and only an observer -- my sense is that you've argued your position in a way that at times had a few sharp edges, but that's understandable as you very much have a stake in this. And, more generally, there's a difference between feeling like, "okay, we've identified a bunch of things that are problematic but are there any things we can form a consensus upon and do or change?" versus that sort of sneering attitude that people are wasting their time and are foolish. Maybe both prefer more concrete things to further discussion, but the former is both respectful and values the discussion while the latter is just smug and contemptuous. And, to my mind, that is all the difference in the world. I mean, seriously, it's a huge difference that actually has a wide variety of consequences.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:36 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Saeculorum, your comment was seriously Not Cool: after reading an *extensive* thread that includes lengthy notes about trans* marginalization within GSM initiatives, you chose to donate money to one of the least trans*-friendly groups out there?

You do realize that in using the privilege you have to donate $350 towards the HRC, you are perpetuating a systemic inequality, yes? Please explain why you consider your action contributory to any effort to alleviate the pressure so described here.

Furthermore, however much I'm personally tapped out of the conversation (I am queer; I ID as queer in part because no other word accurately encompasses both my sexuality and my shifting relationship to my gender), how is a discussion held by trans*folk and other GSM people re: the erasure that affects them not conducive to progress?
posted by Ashen at 1:40 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you'd like to have this discussion, I am available by memail. Otherwise, I have nothing to add to this discussion that would not provoke further debate that I consider useless.
posted by saeculorum at 1:43 PM on May 18, 2015


Just couldn't let that go without one last parting shot about how this discussion is "useless," huh?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:48 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I can't tell if you're telling us you're giving to HRC just to be a jerk and support an organization that is both by reputation and action the worst of mainstream gay fundraising and minimizing of trans issues and people, or if you aren't aware that HRC is that organization and are trying to be well intentioned here. If this is well intentioned, then thank you, and let me offer some other options.

[very accidentally drops rhetorical bomb]

we can discuss how accidentally I did this in private, off the record
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:10 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can I just point out that this is the exact type of repeated dropping of dogwhistle derail that we've repeatedly seen and are hopefully trying to cut back on in the Boyzone Metatalk going on, translated into queer topics? A bunch of people are discussing an issue, sharing experiences, and trying to tease out nuance, then someone comes in and drop not only one but three inflammatory shitbombs, derailing the conversation and upsetting a dozen other queer members? And then in follow-ups, demonstrates that they've read exactly zero of the comments stating what was so shitty about what they've done, pretty much showing that their whole goal in participating in the thread was to provoke people, rather than actually participating?
posted by Conspire at 2:57 PM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


(Or, worse, demonstrates that they have read the thread and absorbed nothing or decided to make mischief. None of the options are good faith participation.)
posted by gingerest at 3:16 PM on May 18, 2015


I think the assumption that HRC is meant to be a bomb may be unfair. I used to donate to HRC myself- they stand on sidewalks asking "Do you support equality" and are pretty visible, especially on the media-promoted marriage issues. The whole "Well I am giving to charity unlike you pointless time wastes" is enough without overthinking that.
posted by corb at 3:30 PM on May 18, 2015


I think the assumption that HRC is meant to be a bomb may be unfair. I used to donate to HRC myself- they stand on sidewalks asking "Do you support equality" and are pretty visible, especially on the media-promoted marriage issues. The whole "Well I am giving to charity unlike you pointless time wastes" is enough without overthinking that.

I alone have used the HRC as an example of a shitty organisation multiple times in this thread. Way up at the top of this thread, saeculorum dismissed the idea that we might want to think about a theme month. You can't go "Oh, well, maybe he didn't know." There's a difference between throwing the HRC $20 without thinking too hard about it and proclaiming in this thread, after you've turned your nose up at people, that you're giving then $350.
posted by hoyland at 3:41 PM on May 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


And, yeah, maybe I'm reading things all wrong, but I assume we would have had clarification that it was an ignorant choice of organisation by now.
posted by hoyland at 3:45 PM on May 18, 2015


corb, your own history in re supporting trans people on MF is not without problems. In previous dealings, I've gotten the distinct feeling that you have never heard a dog whistle you didn't want to reflexively defend, but maybe your help isn't really needed here.
posted by OmieWise at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Not sure there's any actual reason to think that any money was donated to charity in the first place. (Trolling is free.) So the HRC and what it's supported (or not) in the past is sort of a derail.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 6:41 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whole "I did something useful unlike you people who just TALK" is a really common insult, though, and one which is deployed as a form of minimizing the opinions and value of members of a group from within the group. It's on the same level as "circular firing squad" or the recent laments by white men that liberals can't be more like the Tea Party, where the non-white men present know their purpose is to support doing what white men think is important. It's along the same lines as the "splitting the movement" people, as if ignoring the concerns and needs of part of the movement isn't already doing that.

Part of building a movement that doesn't toss nominal members under the bus is about talking it out. Insults to that process are literally an attempt to maintain the status quo of ignoring the concerns of marginalized people, and they should be treated as the attacks to equality that they are.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


One thing that feels opportune to discuss now, since it explains a number of the dynamics going on here, is the unfortunate interactions that umbrella identifiers have with privilege. The one trait that I personally find most indicative of privilege is the belief that one's experiences are universal and that one's viewpoints are objective, rational, and unbiased by identity - this goes hand in hand with the labeling of certain identities as default, whether it's men as default, cis people as default, white people as default, able-bodied people as default, so forth. Umbrella identifiers, which facilitate this cognitive trap by falsely suggesting to privileged people that they speak for all people within their umbrella, are weaponized against more marginalized people within the umbrella. We've previously discussed how within an umbrella, you frequently see the goals and priorities of the most privileged members prioritized to the extent that anything that benefits the more marginalized is totally ignored, due to more privileged members having a greater voice to guide discourse under the false belief that their issues are common to all people within their umbrella. But more perniciously, you see issues specific to more marginalized members reappropriated by more privileged members to drum up support for their own identities by showing how bad "LGBT/queer people" have it while not actually doing anything about these specific issues. Partially by using the lip-service paid to these issues, more marginalized members are held emotionally hostage to the umbrella and to lending their energy into supporting the causes of the more privileged; those who point out these dynamics are told that they are "divisive", that they are "quibbling over minor details", they are "all-talk-no-action", they are "letting perfect be the enemy of good."

That explains why a number of people have specifically implicated white cis gay men as problematic in this thread - a privileged white cis man is one thing, but a privileged white cis man who has been led to believe that they are an expert on, and entitled to speak on all issues sexuality/gender-related, that they are representative of a cause, that it is important for them to speak out whenever they can because of visibility, because "silence equals death", because they are representative of all queer people, is a tremendously more destructive beast. But while we implicate white cis gay men to be the most frequent enactors of this trope - probably because they have the unfortunate nature of having a lot, lot more axises to trip up on - I encourage anyone who holds privilege on certain axises to be very careful not to fall into these traps. For instance, one of the issues in trans spheres right now is how trans men will frequently speak over the experiences of trans women by referencing the umbrella of "trans people" without recognizing that trans women have an additional element of transmisogyny to suffer from - for instance, they'll push the idea that trans people are socialized as the other gender from childhood without recognizing that while this is a very powerful political tactic for trans men especially in feminist spheres in that it grants them the ability to discuss misogyny from lived experience, it is a very violent label for trans women that has traditionally been used to push trans women out of women's spaces and to discredit their experiences as women. So you can see the same strategy produces very different political outcomes for different identities here, and that it's important not to conflate them in the pursuit of a strategy.

I find that important to mention in this context, because especially on here we have a habit of saying "trans people" on this site as if the experiences of trans men, afab versus amab non-binary people, and trans women, were all synonymous. On this site, we have a habit of saying "LGBT/queer" as if our experiences were all synonymous. Which gets back to my comment that we should regard these umbrella identities as constructed - sometimes, I agree that it's politically, socially, or communally beneficial to work together on a common cause, but other times, different groups will necessarily need to take different approaches to their issues. And with umbrella identifiers, we too frequently see a failure to recognize this translate into a power dynamic where people who are more recognized, accepted and able to be vocal, explicitly use their power to dismiss the attempts of the more marginalized to speak up as divisive, trivial, and pointless.

This is a long way for me to state: if you are white and able-bodied, you do not get to claim unity with me. And I'm sorry for those - likely the majority - of you who do recognize your privilege, but consider how many times myself and hoyland and others have been subject to plain-and-simple bullying tactics within the course of this metatalk and the last alone, for simply trying to state that the proposed strategy do not work for us. Consider the number of times I've articulated how plain visibility doesn't work for me, only to be told that I'm confusing the cause and overcomplicating things. Consider the number of times I've tried to point out privilege and power dynamics that raise barriers for me, only to be subject to a white-gay tantrum over how divisive I'm being. I'm not trying to punish or blame all of you for the actions of a few, but trying to point out that these actions are part of a pattern of an abusive power dynamic that threatens me - and that unless we can find ways to minimize these dynamics, there is no way I can be assumed to share a common identity with you by default of having the unusual trait of liking men.
posted by Conspire at 8:14 PM on May 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


This is a long way for me to state: if you are white and able-bodied, you do not get to claim unity with me.

Gah, though, where does it end? At what point can people feel a sense of unity? If we draw the line between able-bodied and disabled, do we also need to draw the lines between the disabilities based on how differently they are treated by society, and the power differential that implies?

I mean, say that somewhere in this thread, someone with a mobility-related disability started talking about the experience of disabled GSM folks. Is it okay, is it useful, is it right, to feel a kinship and some degree of unity with that person even while part of me is stung by how easily the world seems to accommodate mobility issues, while it rolls its eyes at less visible, less easily accommodated disabilities? I mean, it's not that person's fault that they experience some degree of privilege just because their condition is taken seriously in a way mine often is not. They may not even see it as privilege, because the fact of being disabled itself is so difficult in our society that it tends to wipe away the differentials there, add GSM to it and there is even more difficulty.

I don't know if I am making any sense. Is my hypothetical disabled GSM person silencing me if they speak up about their experience and there is a little umbrella-talk to it? I mean, I would definitely want to cut in and say, okay, that's close but it doesn't quite take into account those of us who have X condition, we experience much less access to services, we get thrown into hospitals against our will, etc. etc. But, I still feel way closer, way more unified, to that person, than to someone who has never gone through any of it.

I probably shouldn't even be saying all this today, as I'm feeling very us-vs-them on the disability issue at the moment, and I may be speaking much less coherently than I think I am. (And knowing that 90% of the participants on the thread probably are able-bodied/able-minded and aren't aware of these subterranean issues, sets off all sorts of alerts for even bringing it up.)

But this is a long way for me to state, I sure as hell wish I got to claim unity with somebody, without anybody feeling silenced and forcibly categorized.
posted by mittens at 8:32 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


if you are white and able-bodied, you do not get to claim unity with me.

I think maybe a better way of saying this is that no one can claim unity with anyone else - you can declare your willingness to be in unity, but you can never speak for other people. For example - I am also nonwhite and disabled. I stand ready to be in unity with you on this if you want it! But there are also differences we have which may make you not want to be in unity with me. (And mittens is 100% right on sub-disability groups and competing interests, like the physical/mental disability breakdown which is a pretty wide gulf.)
posted by corb at 9:18 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think one aspect of the issue is that people still think of being in unity with others as a label one can claim instead of a label one might be given by others based on ones actions. It's like ally and powerful - if you have to claim it yourself, you're not. A lot of people, including myself in the past, come up with a laundry list of things we've done to "prove" we're not -ist, forgetting that no one but ourselves has that experience of ourselves and that our actions speak louder than our aspirations.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:16 AM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I think maybe a better way of saying this..."

That's pretty much what he said, though.

For what it's worth, in the past I've resented what I felt to be Conspire speaking on behalf of all disabled people, including me. That's probably unfair and really just a function of me disagreeing with whatever argument about disability and identity that Conspire was making. But, as pointed out by several people including yourself, the issue is appropriation in one form or another -- we need to be really careful about how we presume "unity" with others.

Hell, I try to be careful to avoid generalizing about my illness and disability in ways that imply that I'm speaking for my sister, who has exactly the same disease (that probably fewer than a hundred people worldwide have), because her experience with it has been distinct from mine in important ways -- ways that really matter with regard to ableism and identity, among other things.

Also, because I intuit this is somehow relevant, this has to do with why I think it's really important to distinguish between opposing an injustice and advocating for those who are treated unjustly. The latter has some appropriation implicit in it, most especially when it's by an outsider and doubly so when it's someone with a lot of relative privilege. So, in this context, I think it's okay for anyone to oppose transphobia, because I personally think we each have a moral responsibility to actively oppose such things, but that's not quite the same thing as advocating for trans* folk. And adopting the umbrella labels LGBT or QUILTBAG as part of an initiative, outside the context of those various subgroups including themselves in, is an example of well-intended advocacy by outsiders that is an implicit appropriation.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:31 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


But this is a long way for me to state, I sure as hell wish I got to claim unity with somebody, without anybody feeling silenced and forcibly categorized.

You personally can claim whatever unity you like. Claiming it on behalf of a group to whom you belong is a less straightforward proposition however, and constructed umbrella terms (like LGBT or what have you) effectively make a claim that is much bigger and broader than a personal one.
posted by Dysk at 1:13 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I posted a bunch as my sockpuppet, "as common as insecticide." It's been really alienating and I'm not fond of the patterns I'm falling into. I think I'm done here for a good while. There are lots of sweet, thoughtful people here that have taught me so much and I'm sorry to leave... thank you. ♥
posted by yaymukund at 7:43 PM on May 26, 2015


So we just lost another trans MeFite? That's a problem. (Not blaming yaymukund/as common as insecticide for stepping away; do what you need to do to be ok.)
posted by jaguar at 7:07 AM on May 27, 2015


I just realized yaymukund/as common as insecticide may not identify as trans. I still think their departure points to ongoing site problems.
posted by jaguar at 7:11 AM on May 27, 2015


yaymukund is trans, and publicly said so at least once on mefi.
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I still think their departure points to ongoing site problems.

I'm not entirely sure I'm qualified to judge in this case, but it looks to me like they had a routine disagreement with two different people on the Blue. The conversations didn't appear reach a point where moderator intervention would conceivably be required.

It's distressing that they felt uncomfortable and chose to button. But looking at the situation, what policy or mod rule could be changed to improve those interactions that would not stifle reasonable discussion?
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Stop making generalizations about all GSM, what they believe, and how they should feel"?
posted by jaguar at 8:31 AM on May 27, 2015


"Stop making generalizations about all GSM, what they believe, and how they should feel"?

I like that as a general guideline. Ideally, that would work. But....

Unless I'm missing something, that didn't happen in the first thread. Multiple people simply disagreed with 'as common as insecticide' about the purpose, appropriateness and benefit of the memorial.

In the second thread, the article the FPP was based around indulged in some deep generalizations about GSM, 'gay culture,' and the behavior and norms of gay & straight men. As a result, the entire thread was filled with generalizations. Such as "Being straight" is no longer a sexuality. It just means that people don't hate you." etc. If the problem was with the FPP itself, then that's something that can be managed. But when multiple users disagree about their own lived experiences, then moderation becomes challenging.
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on May 27, 2015


I didn't read either thread in real time, which I do think can change perceptions, in terms of how fast the comments come after each other. To me, however, the first thread actually felt more like people saying, "No, you're wrong." Not, "Yeah, I could see how that's an issue," just "No, this is a good thing." It reminded me a lot of similar issues around same-sex marriage, where voicing ambivalence about one form of mainstream acceptance that leaves a lot of people out is often seen as not being supportive enough. The second thread, the source article could well have been a huge part of the issue, but users declaring that all men who sleep with men are "gay," no exceptions, and that not identifying with that particular label is delusional and sad, certainly wasn't helping.
posted by jaguar at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


*nod* I only read the second one in real time, and thought it was rather terrible. I didn't agree with some of the assumptions made by the article it was based on, and suspected the arguments in the thread stemmed from its flaws. But (if I'm being completely honest...) I often feel that as a privileged, uninvested outsider, it's inappropriate to voice my opinion in threads on that and similar topics. So I followed along but didn't say anything.

I didn't see the dynamic you described in the first thread, until I re-read it. And now... you're right. It's fairly obvious that people were being dismissive and unhelpful.

Do you think it would be possible ask the mods to codify a response to what you described: "Stop making generalizations about all GSM, what they believe, and how they should feel"? A realistic response that might help trans members feel like their feelings and opinions are valued here?
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on May 27, 2015


Not feeling like that's my place. I held off commenting on yaymukund's departure for a while to try to give that some space, too, but I at least wanted to acknowledge that it happened and that it was unfortunate and that the problems yaymukund identified were visible to someone else.

Trying to stay in witness mode rather than jump-in-and-fix mode.
posted by jaguar at 11:24 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


*nod* Sorry. Not trying to push you into anything. I just... would like things to be better around here.
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really sad to see yaymukund go. I also echo their feelings about feeling increasingly exhausted, on-the-defensive, and avoidant of discussing queer topics here on Metafilter. This Metatalk has only heightened these feelings for me, so I think it does merit a discussion. I want to bring up the recent Genderbread FPP - it was deleted, but within only 21 comments, so many issues had popped up that I think it serves as a very concise, dense example of some the dynamics we see here that make discussion on queer topics a bad idea here. I was watching this develop in real time, and I honestly felt completely helpless and pained the entire time from post to lock.

First, the post was made by a very well-meaning straight ally, likely to serve as a 101-level discussion - but I don't think they were aware that the whole Killermann affair was incredibly problematic in multiple different ways in ways that were extremely well-known to queer communities already. I sat on my hands for a long time trying to figure out how to tackle all of the controversy that was going on in a way "nice" enough to straight cis people, as I've previously pointed how incredibly problematic Killermann was in the past to real-life allies, and been accused of the typical "perfect is the enemy of good" yammering. So I felt relieved that a number of other queer mefites stepped up to address it from various angles. But at that stage, it was already developing into one of those "queer people, sufficiently defend and explain this to our satisfaction threads", with the original poster digging in multiple times about the educational value of the tool, and then other straight people coming in and doing the "educate me" thing and complaining that call-outs of Genderbread were just "drowning out conversation" (and comparing GSM to tea drinkers, really?)

And in the whole midst of it, we get a bunch of micro-aggressive dismissive Nabiscogendered Tribiscuitsexual snarking about how GSMs are labelling themselves. So that rightfully gets called out, but it's done in a less-than-careful white-gay-man-speaking-on-behalf-of-everyone dynamic that we've also pointed out as problematic in this Metatalk. So that rightfully provokes a hurt response from someone who feels marginalized by mainstream LGB cultural minimization of these issues. That was incredibly frustrating to me because it demonstrated to me a very common dynamic within LGB communities where gay politics will simplify queer issues in a way that tosses more marginalized people under the bus in order to react against homophobia - e.g. "born this way" rhetoric, marriage equality as central issue, etc, and then imply that gay issues are central issues while everyone else's issues are beyond "101" reaction. So it was frustrating on two fronts, first demonstrating that Metafilter is still stuck on this stage of constant micro- and macro- aggression against queer people that provokes this reactionary simplified rhetoric, but second demonstrating how we've still fallen into the same pitfall of centering white gay issues and rhetoric all the time on Metafilter without questioning how incredibly harmful and exclusive it is of other people.

Then going behind the scene a little, I was talking with some other people on this because what I found to be conspicuously absent was a discussion on how problematic the Genderbread was on trans fronts in its definition of a discrete biological sex that is "localized" to the genitals - sciatrix alludes to this, but I found it really conspicuous that there was no discussion on this from any trans members because the whole Genderbread thing is seriously one of those things you can't bring up in at least the queer spaces where I frequent that won't provoke exactly this criticism. So in the responses I got, basically, everyone else was feeling frustrated, defeated, and defensive to the point that they didn't even feel it worthy to toss out these critiques, and that people felt Metafilter isn't a space where nuanced stuff like this can be discussed without all of the above stuff happening basically.

We have a problem here. All of this unfolded in just 21 comments. 21 comments.
posted by Conspire at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


The conversations didn't appear reach a point where moderator intervention would conceivably be required.

There was actually moderator intervention in that thread. (I tried that funny contact form idea out. But only after leaving about three fighty comments that were subsequently deleted.) It very much felt/feels like another one of those threads where the only acceptable response is "yay gay people" and anything complicating that even slightly needs to be shouted down. (That thread is now descending into absurdity. I'll go make judicious use of 'remove from recent activity' after I post this.)
posted by hoyland at 4:11 PM on May 27, 2015


Sorry to see folk leaving - and sorry to see the thread delete. I think a fascinating discussion could have been had, especially with the plagiarism info.
posted by corb at 5:02 PM on May 27, 2015


Conspire - I typed a big long response in that thread and deleted it because I knew it wouldn't be worth the effort. I probably won't say too much in future threads on those topics because real life is exhausting enough.
posted by desjardins at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


(That thread is now descending into absurdity. I'll go make judicious use of 'remove from recent activity' after I post this.)

That thread descended into absurdity around your third time asserting that it wasn't your fight and you didn't really care that much about it. Good to see you're getting the last word in before you leave, though.
posted by Etrigan at 5:09 PM on May 27, 2015


Sorry to see folk leaving - and sorry to see the thread delete. I think a fascinating discussion could have been had, especially with the plagiarism info.

Discussing something that mischaracterizes marginalized people that was produced by someone who actively hurt those same marginalized people doesn't seem like a good basis for a fascinating discussion. And prioritizing fascinating discussions over marginalized people's experiences is a problem.
posted by jaguar at 5:57 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


It very much felt/feels like another one of those threads where the only acceptable response is "yay gay people" and anything complicating that even slightly needs to be shouted down.

I felt like there were a lot of angles to look at that FPP from critically - I would have things to say about the ways gay rights is increasingly being used to prop up nationalism and would have really enjoyed a conversation on how to navigate the fine line in supporting for and advocating for entry and participation in military endeavors versus using gay rights as a vehicle for homonationalism - and how the glossing over of trans issues serves as a means for the latter - but I saw this dynamic too and completely noped out of the thread.
posted by Conspire at 6:11 PM on May 27, 2015


Unless I'm missing something, that didn't happen in the first thread. Multiple people simply disagreed with 'as common as insecticide' about the purpose, appropriateness and benefit of the memorial.

This is the problem. When trans people get told that they are wrong to feel how they feel, that they are wrong to have the opinions that they have, that they should celebrate with everyone else and not get caught up in [x], people see that as simple disagreement. Now it is of course entirely possible to disagree with trans people without telling them that they're wrong, that their opinions are misguided, that their concerns are stupid, but that is not what happened here.
posted by Dysk at 3:23 AM on May 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


That thread descended into absurdity around your third time asserting that it wasn't your fight and you didn't really care that much about it. Good to see you're getting the last word in before you leave, though.

Not cool.
posted by hoyland at 4:23 AM on May 28, 2015


So I guess I'll take a break from contributing and see if I can grab any intuition or understanding as the words go by.

I'm sorry to see you go, kalessin, I hope you come back soon.
posted by corb at 6:42 AM on May 28, 2015


Conspire, you really need to stop misrepresenting what I have said. Like, now.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:46 AM on May 28, 2015


This thread has been going for a long time with a lot of hurt feelings being shared. People need to not get into mano-a-mano fights in here. fffm, it's fine to say you think you've been misrepresented, but I'll ask you to leave it at that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:27 AM on May 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


So... I just made a post about dinosaur feathers, and included the tags PosterIsQueer and PosterIsGenderqueer. Noting it here for completeness.
posted by daisyk at 11:24 AM on June 6, 2015


I was going to tag my post from this week, realized I couldn't figure out whether any tag wording was ever decided on, and then chickened out! Must rectify! #JuneByScaredyCat
posted by mittens at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


#itotallyjustcameoutintags is an excellent tag, mittens. Three cheers!

(My post got deleted as a double. :( )
posted by daisyk at 12:54 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


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