Yes just like this video says far better than I could say it, I am, as much as possible a feminist (I hate saying I’m an -ist about anything because it suggests you’re finished, perfect, formed, kind of the reverse of ‘practising homosexual’ – it’s much more fluid than that). I don’t see a difference between the struggle for women’s rights, LGBT rights (since many of those groups are women, either originally by birth or otherwise), fights against fascism and racism and the concern over gender roles. And yes sadly there is misogyny in the gay community, and sometimes the feeling that people who are more femme, flamboyant, outrageous or camp are somehow ‘lesser’ comes to light…usually around Pride.
I was there on Saturday – I missed the march due to the whole early-start World Pride fiasco but went to the Square and did the King’s Arms thing. But I know of a few people who didn’t go and kvetched about those who look/act differently, the drag queens, the outrageous queeny types, the leather, fetish wear etc. It’s sad, because Pride is about being yourself – or more importantly for some a more extravagant exaggerated self – and yes in all marches I’ve been on there’s been many people who look just like those watching who would never ‘tell’ just as much as those that didn’t just leave the closet they waltzed out But that’s the wonder of Pride, it’s for everyone. Well everyone who isn’t so closeted/conservative that they can’t leave their biases and preconceptions at the door for a day and have some fun (which I did, surprisingly since I thought it would be a damp squib like the weather – and Westminster Council threatened to spoil it too but failed!).
As an aside I do understand some of the tensions about (straight) women in the (male) gay community though – it comes from a feeling that women crash the bars and clubs as a space where they can be free, but paradoxically as with all freedoms it’s more complex – it can infringe on others freedoms in that very scene. That’s a harder one to answer, and after seeing a few aggressive violent episodes on Saturday the real question is where the evil patriarchy of ‘women should know their place’ stops and anti-social behaviour begins? I don’t think four women kicking a bloke on the ground at the bus stop (yes I saw that in Oxford Street and it was only 10pm!) is emancipation nor anything other than a rare episode of drunkenness of a minority. And might not be related (I think the bloke came from Pride though). But another episode in a gay pub did highlight the disjunct, over the Ladies loo funnily enough which the rest of the year is used by everyone – you can see why some have a problem with visitors to their spaces not being respectful of the ‘norms’ of those places. Is a gay male pub patriarchy? I dunno, but there is a wider power struggle over gay vs straight which is being fought there – and the general rule, as I follow in any community spaces I visit as a guest – is to be on your best behaviour.
Anyway back to feminism – it might be strange for a bloke to say he’s a feminist, or for feminism, but I don’t see how we can be free without everyone being equal and liberated? Female, male, intersex, gay, straight, black, white – the list goes on as long as the struggle. I do wish there was more unity across these groups, hence why I on occasion pop out of my little bubble and go and have a look at other sites, blogs, Facebook groups to get a different picture. It’s sad in a way that the very promised coming together of minds and community that the Internet brought has also beget a lot of necessary bunkerism from the trolls and the majority – which can negate the very intent. Glad then that certain public blogs and Facebook groups exist so I can have some of my preconceptions challenged = because without that how can you grow?
Video via the excellent Girl’s Guide To Taking Over The World – and also this t-shirt I WANT is from there too: