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Is Protesting Allies An Effective Use Of Time For The LGBT Community?

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The past few weeks have seen members of the LGBT communities engage in a fresh round of online protests and criticism…against noted and proven LGBT allies. A few weeks back, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Logo were on the receiving end of criticism from trans activists over their use of the term “she-mail” in a game that has been a part of the show for years.

Just this week, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jo Becker found herself and her marriage equality book Forcing the Spring at the center of a firestorm of controversy and planned protests by LGBT activists who are unhappy with her allegedly myopic retelling of the battle for same-sex marriage. Though some may see it as people making their opinions heard, others see it as a waste of time and energy when there are more dangerous enemies to LGBT people that continue to fly under the radar.

So, we pose the question to you, Queerty members: Is Protesting Allies An Effective Use Of Time For The LGBT Community?

By:           Rob Smith
On:           May 2, 2014
Tagged: , ,

  • 19 Comments
    • Thedrdonna
      Thedrdonna

      I’d say that it really depends on a lot of factors. Wanting recognition for years of hard work isn’t unfair, although one would have to be very careful not to undermine that work when seeking the recognition. Wanting allies to use terminology that isn’t hurtful is fairly benign, as far as goals go, but then if they refuse to believe that the terminology is hurtful in the first place then I don’t know that they could be considered 100% true-blue allies anyway. That said, I think that the she-mail thing was effectively harmless, and had the potential to be coincidental in its resemblance to the slur against trans folks in the first place. Far less easily explained was the female or sh***le game they played…that definitely went over the line, and was not as readily excused.

      May 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • queerbec
      queerbec

      To go out and loudly protest our “allies” strikes me as counter-productive. We should, however, never hesitate to call them out should they use hateful terms or misrepresent our goals, whether out of ignorance or thinking they were doing the right thing. Many of our well-meaning allies don’t understand how the use of certain terms can be hurtful and destructive, and have no idea of what the community has had to endure for so many years. The temptation to react loudly and perhaps ill-advisedly is somehow ingrained into our own DNA it seems. It’s no secret that our community is expert at devouring our own. It seems that it is easier to lash out at someone within our community than someone outside. I think of all of the feminist outrage that in the past had been directed at me as I struggled to learn to use inclusive language and just wish that today some of that outrage could now be directed toward the politicians who want to limit reproductive rights or maintain gender inequality in pay. I think of the anger directed at me because work issues prevented me from coming out as early as I would have liked to, and would now appreciate seeing those same people call out religious leaders, corporate executives and policy makers who continue to cling to the oppressive status quo. I understand the desire to have a movement in which all people can feel comfortable and welcome; or an environment where we are all on the same page, but I wonder how many potential lesbian and gay activists have been turned off by the haughty-appearing attitudes of more devout and active activists. Maybe we are more susceptible targets who are more likely to embrace the criticism and understand, but the anger and tenor of much of the criticism has been just as hurtful.

      May 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey
      Qjersey

      Since this is queerty I will say this…that entire brouhaha over RuPaul was started by some angry lesbian trans woman. If you read any of her previous blog posts…her stock and trade is just angry tirades.

      I find it ironic that the trans activist movement has been taken over by angry (trans) lesbians.

      May 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BrianZ
      BrianZ

      Should we ever hesitate to engage in productive dialogue with our friends and allies, even when it’s over issues we have with their behavior? Of course not! No one is perfect, and we all need help in learning to navigate social issues. This requires patience with friend and foe alike. I think we need to keep in mind that this is a two-way street, and there is a fine line between dialogue and preaching/lecturing. We have seen some fine examples of this considerate conversation, even right here on Queerty.

      Should we tolerate nasty commentary and bile-filled rants from people who include themselves in our LGBT family? Absolutely not! Being queer doesn’t give one a pass to act out and be belligerent and immature. If someone is so upset, or the issue is simply too emotionally charged, then perhaps another talking head is better to represent your point. If the objective is to draw blood rather than engage, then I think it fair to suggest it would be completely stupid not to expect a pint to be drawn in return. We have seen fine examples of this, even right here on Queerty.

      May 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • toberlin
      toberlin

      I am straight woman.I knew that I like boys since Kindergarten.I had my first boyfriend in 3 Grade and my first “real” Kiss with 14.I had my Problems as a Girl with Family with School and Friends etc. but NOBODY ever gave me the feeling that there is something wrong with being STRAIGHT. From my point of view there are no People and LGBT People.There are different sexual orientations and it is really absurd how hard some people with other sexual orientations than STRAIGHT have to fight.I am no ones ally.It is my Duty as a human in my society to accept and integrate other sexual orientations.It is unhealthy for a society and for the people not to do it.There is no duty for people to be grateful that someone accept their sexual orientation.And there is for sure no duty to respect or waste time on people who “tolerate” you.This is how handle it.This might be too much or not enough for some people .So let us fight about…I’m ready:)

      May 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gskorich
      gskorich

      I think it’s time we break apart LGBT into separate groups. as a gay man I find ru paul fun and harmless while some trans person finds him phobic and the lesbians don’t really care and when’s the last time a bi person stepped forward. because a trans person had an is sure with ru paul and logo it was reported the LGBT community was up in arms. 99% of us didn’t care. lets get back to the gay community. women and men. let the trans people hate everyone equally

      May 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rhaegar
      Rhaegar

      Depends on the situation, but that logo protest was not just counter-productive, it was plain moronic.

      I am a gay man from Croatia. When someone calls me a fag, I am not offended, because it is true. I AM a “fag”. If it comes from someone with obvious intention of using it as a slur, I will respond in kind, but I will still not be offended, because it is still true. On the other hand, I’d be extremely offended if someone called me a Christian, or cosmos forbid, a Catholic. That isn’t true, and I’d find it extremely offensive to suggest otherwise.

      Also, sometimes me and my gay friends tell each other something like “You’re such a fag”, much as black people sometimes call each other the N word. We don’t find it offensive. It’s f****** truth, and we’re proud of it.

      Likewise, regarding transsexual people and the use of she-male. You ARE females who were born as biological males. Getting offended by the word she-male coming from someone who clearly has no intention of using it as a slur, but as a community empowering slang or just a plain pun, says nothing about the person who used the word, but tells all about you, your insecurities and your own deep-seated self-loathing. If you felt fine in your own skin, you couldn’t possibly be offended by that word. Because guess what, it’s the truth.

      While I am completely supportive of transgender and transsexual people, I find myself distancing from my transsexual friends, exactly because they seem to be very prone to taking offense where no offense is meant. For instance, while one of my F2M friends was in the process of transitioning, I know he was using a male name, at least for a while. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, and I met him after he transitioned. I called him by the male name he used, and he got extremely offended by it, because apparently, he stopped using it and started using his former female name again. How the f*** am I supposed to know?

      My point would be, people who are actively looking to be offended, will be offended no matter what. And I for one am not willing to renounce the word fag, she-male or whatever else you think is inappropriate. If it offends you, feel free to be offended. But don’t be surprised when you see your list of friends getting thinner and thinner, because nobody likes to play with people they have to walk on eggshells around.

      May 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DickieJohnson
      DickieJohnson

      Unfortunately, for the Gay & Lesbian community (I don’t think the B’s & T’s should be lumped in all together), the most vocal, & “sensitive” folk are the stereotypical “bitch & whine” types who are the loudest, and therefore more publicized. Save your energy for opposing all the nutcase politicians, evangelists, radio & TV right-wingers, and all those others who actually despise US”

      May 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hotshot70
      hotshot70

      All because a VERY select few got offended by she-mail, it was removed. Well, then, I want wrestling shows on TV to no longer use the term “handicap” match. (See how stupid these gripes can get) LIGHTEN THE F*** UP, EVERYONE!

      May 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hex0
      hex0

      I am sick of the transsexual histrionics. What do you gain by attacking our straight allies? Trans people should learn some respect, being oppressed doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole to everybody without receiving criticism. Yes it is no coincident that the loudest offenders are “trans lesbians” (ie. people who used to be straight men).

      May 3, 2014 at 9:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • aliengod
      aliengod

      Who decided to add the T anyway? The trans community needs to find a new group to latch on to. I’m sick of the constant bitching and moaning about words that the gay community has used for decades. Move on already!

      May 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rhaegar
      Rhaegar

      Not all trans people are idiots like Parker Marie Molloy, and no, we don’t need to further segregate, but we do have the obligation to stand up to idiots in our own ranks. What Logo did was wrong, it ceded ground to trans terrorists, and opened the door to further policing of the language, something the gay movement, while it was still worth a damn, would never submit to.

      May 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dr. Mo
      Dr. Mo

      @Qjersey: Amen. And now those same people have Rachel Maddow in their sights because how dare she not cover their struggle. How astonishingly short-sighted.

      May 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WuzUpYall
      WuzUpYall

      I consider the source of any criticism, suggest, or remark. If I value that source, then I take it to heart. If not, I blow it off. Fortunately, I am not in the public eye like Rupaul or Ms. Becker. In-fighting among members of the gay community is a natural and expected thing. Take it with a grain of salt and NEVER let them see one’s tiara askew ;)

      May 3, 2014 at 10:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      One has to really think about the true motivation of a person/persons who latch on to such an innocent term as “she-mail”. Ru-Paul has been an advocate for the community for decades. She-mail is a pun for drag and there is nothing nefarious about the usage or the term……..

      This kind of attack from within does nothing but give more ammuntion to the rightwing nut bags who savor it and the controversy it generates. Again one has to ponder the motivation from the source……….

      May 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • inbama
      inbama

      If you’re terrified of being mistaken drag queens, how stupid do you have to be to very publicly get into a mud-wrestling match with the reigning diva?

      The Transfeminist Mind works in mysterious ways.

      May 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KDub
      KDub

      Protest anything you disagree with. Do you let your friends off the hook when they piss you off just because they’re your friends? If I feel slighted–by friend or foe–I don’t hesitate to speak up for myself. Some of you guys have some serious abused wife mentalities when it comes to making sure you never speak out of turn against “allies”.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jake75
      jake75

      RuPaul has done more for the gay community than so many others who are getting attention. He has essentially built an empire all based on drag. He can sing, act, dance and a great message.
      Drag Race is a show about drag and female illusion. Anybody who has ever spent time with drag queens knows that they are catty, funny and brave. Most of them will hit the stage for a charity event with no questions asked. Why would anybody watching this show be offended by anything (other than dental work)? It is a show about men trying to win a crown, title and cash.
      For someone in the LGBT community to be wounded by this show boggles the mind. With all the “reality” crap on TV, why target this show? You have housewives shows, matchmaking shows, redneck shows, drunk college kid shows. If you want to be upset with a program being offensive to anyone, pick those.
      The ONLY thing RuPaul did wrong, LOGO as well, was pull “You Got She Mail”. They caved to the pressure from our own community which sends a clear message. Rather than target the groups, companies and yes TV shows that are funded by anti human rights groups, or have a clear message of hate, the few individuals who were vocal about it got their way.
      But hey, the homeless people, lack of medical care, and people dying for our rights don’t need focus. Someone being upset about She Male is way more important.

      May 6, 2014 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CleJoke
      CleJoke

      NAZI pink maffia is at it again. I hate all these protest everything campaigns. Chcik-fil-a, Walmart, Target, RuPaul’s Drag Race… the list is endless!

      PROTEST BREATHING!

      damn curmudgeons

      May 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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