So, tonight I was going to write a post about food ethics and part-time herbivory, and possibly round it off with a pretty photo of the delicious lentil moussaka that I just made. However, while I was waiting for the moussaka to bake*, I happened upon a post over on AfterEllen that got me all cranky. See, I really don’t like it when people go around telling me how I can and can’t identify. I really don’t like it when people say that my identity isn’t real, that it’s absolutely fine for them to talk about how it’s not real and to talk shit about people like me. And I really, really don’t like it when they also say that it’s not okay for me to be upset by this. Which is why I did not like the recent post by Ariel Schrag, Comics ‘n Things: Queer identities in . Now, there were two major sections to this article, which was about Erika Moen’s comic DAR. In the second section she criticises Moen’s attitudes towards transmen. While I think the whole issue of gender and attraction is complicated as all hell and that people should be able to express their gendered preferences, I’m also well aware that there can also be a hell of a creepy (not to mention disrespectful) element to the way that people talk about their attraction to trans people, and that is Not Okay. Nope. Not good. But in this, me and Schrag are in agreement.
My problem is with the first 3 pages of the article. Schrag talks disparagingly about Moen’s experiences as a lesbian who finds herself in love with a man, and the complications of navigating this as a queer-identified person with a big personal investment in the gay community. And then she says that, well, it’s absolutely fine for the gay community to be resentful of her, because after all she has all this het privilege now. And that Moen now has no right to claim a queer identity. And no right to have a hard time with all of this, and to talk about having a hard time. And no right to talk about being happy in her relationship.
You know something? No. Just, no. If Moen says that it was harder to deal with falling for a guy when she ID’d as gay than to deal with coming out as gay in the first place? Then it was harder. I’ve been there, it’s fucking hard. It’s a hell of a lot harder to come out as something where you don’t get to have a nice neat prepackaged community of people like you who have clearly signposted places to hang out. I was talking about this with a friend of mine** who put it like this:
“oh no my mother is displeased but all of my friends are incredibly supportive!” “oh look all my friends are kind of tossing vicious slurs at me.” “…but my mother’s less disappointed, so WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG” Which seems to me like a rather succinct representation of the whole thing.
But yes. Not cool, Schrag. Seriously.
And any other points I would like to make are going to have to wait, because the timer just went off on the oven and it’s Delicious Moussaka O’Clock.
*it smells yummy. Yummy, I tell you! **who insisted on either remaining anonymous or having an obscene pseudonym. Prudey McPruderson over here has decided that this means anonymity. So there.
First published here