Politics of Sexuality
Politics of Sexuality
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1 Tasfia Kamal Professor June DowellBurton The Politics of Sexuality 17 February 2016 Acknowledging Privileges All the readings included in the politics of sexuality course so far have discussed how sexuality, gender and race are engrained in people’s everyday life. Sex refers to a person’s biological characteristics, whereas gender refers to that person’s expected behaviors and roles in that person’s respective society and race refers to genetically distinct populations within the same species. Author Rovert A. Padgug mentions in his article “Sexual Matters: On Conceptualizing Sexuality in History” that, “… the members of each society create all of the sexual categories and roles within which they act and define themselves (Padgug, 19). Although sexuality, gender and race are three different things, they can work simultaneously to form interlocked oppression in any given society; which is known as ethnomethodology. Given the societal hierarchies, nondominant groups are always oppressed by the dominant ones. It also gives the dominant groups a sense of privilege that are often unacknowledged or denied. These dominant groups are carefully taught by the society to not recognize themselves as over privileged. For example, men often are willing to help women to improve their status but would not accept that they are overprivileged or whites would not recognize their white privilege but would agree that minorities are being oppressed. These privileges are helping the dominant groups grow up with confidence; but on the other hand, creating the fear of neglect among the 2 nondominant ones. This paper will be focusing on the consequences of male and white privilege and how it is essential to acknowledge the privileges in order to eradicate them. Author Peggy McIntosh mentions in her article “White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack” that she was carefully taught not to recognize her white privileges while growing up. But when she noticed how the phenomenon of white privilege was denied and protected by the society, she realized how it affected her lifestyle as well as the minorities. In her article she mentions, in order to help the minorities to build their society, the whites are encouraged to help the minorities to be more like them as they are seen as the natural norm. She states, “… whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow “them” to be more like “us” (McIntosh, 1). Because of the privileges white receives, their lifestyle seems the most natural one to them. They believe everyone that lives in United States should be following their lifestyles in order to improve their life status. If whites could recognize why is their lives are how they are right now, they would have somewhat noticed the privileges they have been receiving through the societies. The author believes, in order to help the other, whites should be noticing or recognizing their privilege so that they can understand the situations of the minorities better. Because it is not about which lifestyle is ideal or normative, it is about why is there such disparities on people’s lifestyles within the society. People should be focusing on how to make everyone’s lifestyle better, and not focus not shaping them in a certain form, for example, trying to make others like whites because they are the dominant ones. Author McIntosh brings light to the fact that being white has helped her become strong and confident while growing up. White privilege has not only given her protection but also saved 3 her from fear or any kind of neglect. She stated, “Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color” (McIntosh, 3). In her article, she explains how white privilege constantly helped whites to grow up in a safe environment where they have the chance to grow up as confident and healthy. However, minorities do not get the fair share of chance of growing up in the same environment as whites. They grow up thinking their culture is not as rich as whites. They grow up thinking that their status is lower than the whites which becomes a disadvantage for them and eventually gets in the way of prospering. Gloria Anzaldua, the author of “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” shares a similar story where she was constantly taunted because of speaking English with a Spanish accent. She constantly felt the pressure of being under the hammer blow of the dominant culture (Anzaldua, 85). Here, if people could recognize the unfair privilege that is systematically working towards overpowering the whites, it will be easier to eradicate the unfair advantage and give everyone the same safe environment. Growing up thinking that one’s kind is below another superior kind and seeing unfair things happening around them all the time can take a huge toll on anyone. These experiences add up in the end and eventually leaves them hopeless about the future. The only way to take out this systematic white privilege is to recognize it first and try to limit overpowering the whites. “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack” not only focuses on white privilege but it also talks about how some men are aware of the systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance (McIntosh, 4). Following by that statement, the author asks her readers if that unearned advantage can be lessened if people can identify them during their daily activities and how it effects their lives. The author explains how the answer to that is yes because she has 4 met men who are distress about the unfair advantage after they were able to pinpointed it out. Now they are focusing on how these advantage effects their lives to figure out how to get rid of it from the system. Social scientists and prominent authors believe that the first step to stop unfair privilege is to identify it. If every individual can identify their source of over empowerment or unfair advantage, they can try to stop it. To support this idea, McIntosh stated, “To redesign social system we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimension” (McIntosh, 4). Several studies have been going on to figure out how the systematic privileges work and how they can be stopped. The system cannot start benefiting the minorities or nondominant groups without getting rid of the unfair privileges towards the dominant ones. One cannot expect to have better future for the women when men are still benefiting from the society unfairly. To establish equality for both men and women, the unearned male advantage needs to be stopped. As McIntosh describes the benefits of her skin color, conversely Anzaldua describes the downfall of her skin color. No one should be feeling disadvantaged based on their skin color, sex or culture. Everyone should be having same safe environment and live in a healthy life instead of feeling ashamed or unfortunate. In order to do so, it is important for everyone to realize their individual rights and how they are being treated in their respective society. when they realize how the systematic society works around them, that is only when it will be possible to bring the justice to the society for everyone. 5 Work Cited: 1. McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.” Peace and Freedom. Aug, 1997. 2. Anzaldua, Gloria. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”. Borderlands La Frontera. 1987. 3. Padgug, Robert A. “Sexual Matters: On Conceptualizing Sexuality in History”. Radical History Review. 1979. 1 Tasfia Kamal Professor June DowellBurton The Politics of Sexuality 9 March, 2016 Sex shaming The term sex shaming refers to the incident where someone gets shamed because of their sexuality regardless of their gender identity. However, it is evident that women in every society are constantly looked down upon than men, if they lead an active sexual life. The term “slut shaming” is more popular among people in contemporary society; however, “sex shaming” is more accurate to describe and seen as a social issue. In general, people should not be shamed based on the sex they are having or not having, or what type of clothes they are wearing as long as they are comfortable in it, or if the person is a fan of onenight stand and has no desire to be in a committed relationship. Different things empower different women and it is not anyone’s place to tell women which one is the “right” one. Numerous authors have voiced their opinions on this widely ranged social dispute. Among them, this class of politics sexuality has covered articles written by Elizabeth Wood, Audre Lorde, Hazel Carby and Jo Doezema etc who fought for women’s rights in their writings. All these authors seemed to have one thing common in their articles, which is women are constantly being taught by the society to be ashamed of their sexuality. Even though all these authors wrote their articles on different aspect of social issue, they all seemed to agree that the society is persistently making sure that women know what their limits are. This paper will be focusing on how each of these author in their article points out the 2 sex shaming issue and how this social norm should be gotten rid of in order to establish equality among genders and selfconfidence for women. Author Audre Lorde focuses on eroticism in her article called “The uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as a power” in which she shed light on how society dictates women’s sex life and the paradox that lies within this dictatorship. The society tells women to be sexy but then judges them if they are too provocative. Being provocative is an ultimate nono unless it is asked by significant men in their lives. To explain this paradox, the authors states, “On the one hand, the superficially erotic has been encouraged as a sign of female inferiority; on the other hand, women have been made to suffer and to feel both contemptible and suspect by virtue of its existence” (Lorde, 87). Lorde also explains how the term erotic has been misnamed by the men and have been used against women from all society. According to the author, the need for sharing deep feeling is a human need and no one should be oppressed from that (Lorde, 89). The society gives men an easy pass when it comes to exploring their options but stops women from exploring theirs. For example, men get praised if they sleep with numerous women but women get sex shamed and looked upon if they share numerous sex partner or if they are open about their sex life at all. Women are taught to be private about their sex life in order to be the “good girl” of the society. Here, women should not be told what to do or who to be. Every woman should be comfortable with their sex life and not to be judged. The fine line of double standard between men and women needs to come to an end in order to stop sex shaming. To elaborate why eroticism is necessary and what is the importance of it, Audre Lorde states, “Recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world, rather than merely settling for a shift of characters in the same 3 weary drama” (Lorde, 91). Here, the author focuses on how accepting what women want for themselves can help women lead a happier and better life; and most importantly a confident life. However, if the society keep constantly invoking their opinion on how women should live their lives and what it is “right” for them, it can prevent them from living to the fullest. The author also states that one of the ways of preventing this action is by misnaming it and confusing with prostitution; although, their meanings are completely opposite (Lorde, 88). This is not new or uncommon to see within the society as the author explores different ways of how society often tries to dictate women’s life. Eventually this can lead to depression and oppression of their rights in a free society. In order to build women’s selfconfidence, it is important to make sure that they are comfortable with what they have and what they want. It is granted that these problems cannot be solved overnight. However, if people starts within their small family or community to start to have a change in their mindset, women can be hopeful to put what they want first instead of paying attention to what the society would think or want from them. When people start realizing these things and bring changes within their community, authors like Audre Lorde’s hard work will finally get paid off. Elizabeth Anne Wood is a sociologist from Brandeis University who wrote “Working in the Fantasy Factory” where she focused on investigating the construction of gendered interaction and gendered power in strip clubs and other social settings. One of the important things that she found while researching at strip clubs was that people found it different when she used to walk in the strip club because their main customers were men and the author is a woman. The author states, “During my initial visits to Michael’s (the strip club she visited to conduct research) I realized that my presence drew the attention of customers away from the dancers at time” 4 (Wood, 8). Often the author would have to go to a corner in order to blend in and go to the clubs frequently so that the people gets used to her presence. Not only that, but she also got asked about the reason behind her visitation by curious customers, and even by the erotic dancers (Wood, 9). Here, the author stood out in a crowd because the population there is predominately male, so it was seen as unusual for her to show up in an environment like that. Although, it is not clear if she was harassed or judged by people because of her action, but it is pretty clear that there were numerous whispering going around regarding the situation. The author always had to answer her reasoning of being there to the people politely, whoever raised questions in that circumstances. Here, the author was looked at because it is not “normal” for women to show up at the strip clubs. If someone even dares to do so, they are always looked upon by the men because they think it is only okay for them to go to strip club, not for women. This is another situation where double standard can cause shaming on women for no apparent reason. Hazel V. Carby is a prominent author who wrote “Policing in Black Woman’s Body in an Urban Context” where she explores different thoughts on prostitution of Black women in urban community. In her article, she states that numerous authors have expressed that they believe that Black women choose prostitution because they are unable to protect themselves and they need men to protect them (Carby, 740) and that they have this desire to avoid hard work and sees prostitution as an easy pass (Carby, 741). Carby argues in her article that these authors fail to encounter the gender specific and class specific issues that occur and causes the unemployment issue for the Black women. Rather than looking at the societal concerns, people tend to go ahead and blame on the women because it is easier. Helping to reconstruct the community to make it healthier for Black women can be time and money consuming; hence, people take the easy way 5 out and decided to blame on women for choosing prostitution. Some women might have chosen prostitution on their own wish, but these authors fails to encounter and put it into account while researching. To explain this mentality of people, the author states, “Black female sexual behavior, because according to Hunter it is degenerate, threatens the progress of the race: threatens to “tumble gutterward,” in her words, the “headway which the Negro had made toward the state of good citizenship” (Carby, 745). Here, Black women are being called degenerated because of their sexual preference. They are shaming women for their sexuality and blaming them for threatening the progress of the race which is utterly absurd. “Ouch: Western Feminists’ ‘Wounded Attachment’ to the ‘Third World Prostitute’” is an article written by author Jo Doezema which focuses on several feminists’ point of view on prostitution. She mentions how author Barry thinks that women’s subordination is the result of sex and sees prostitution as the ultimate expression of male dominance (Doezema, 26). From his point of view, sex is the male power over women, women should stay away from any kind of sexual conduct (Doezema, 26). According to these authors, any kind of sexual activity of women can put them in danger of exploitation. Based on this mentality, having sex is only valid for men, and if women decide to have sex that just means letting men have power over them. There are a lot of reasons behind the oppression and subordination of women, but women’s sexuality is not one of them. Doezema argues that there is no reason why women should be judged based on their sexuality and have complete independence in making their own choices. In terms of prostitution in third world countries, the author explains how there are women who are willingly doing their job as a prostitute and not being trafficked. However, numerous western feminists and their agencies sees all prostitution as a violation of women’s human rights and do not put it 6 in their consideration that there might be exceptions (Doezema, 17). Here, these prominent authors are lacking to address women’s rights to choose what they want and how they want to live and targeting women to question their sexuality to establish what they think is to be “right” for them. Author Doezema mentions that Brown argues, “… we need to develop new spaces in which to decide politically, collectively, what is good, just and right, derived not from identity based notions of ‘who I am’ but from a new ethics of ‘what I want for us’” (Doezema, 21). All these authors mentioned above have written about different scenarios but still has agreed on one singular fact which is women being sex shamed in the society and how men get unfair advantage because of double standards. All these double standards need to be eradicated in order to establish equality within the society to make women’s life better than it is right now. If people do not take necessary actions to stop sex shaming, it will negatively affect every woman in the society and eventually fail to build a community full of confident women. As a community cannot be counted without women, it can also not prosper without helping the women. In order to build a strong nation together, all the stigmatization towards women needs to be stopped. 7 Work Cited: 1. Doezema, Jo. “Ouch: Western Feminists’ ‘Wounded Attachment’ to the ‘Third World Prostitutes’”. Feminist Review. 2001. P 1638. 2. Carby, Hazel V. “Policing the Black Women’s Body in an Urban Context”. Critical Inquiry. 1992. P 738755. 3. Wood, Elizabeth Anne. “Working in the Fantasy Factory”. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 2000. P 531. 4. Lorde, Audre. “The Uses of the Erotica: The Erotic as Power”. Sister Outsider. 1984. 1 Tasfia Kamal Professor DowellBurton The Politics of Sexuality May 4 , 2016 Sex Shaming in Today’s Society In today’s society, women are constantly looked down upon if they lead an active sexual life or if they tend to wear “too sexy” clothes in public. Women are constantly being taught to be confident but not too ambitious by every institution of the society. On the other hand, men are always praised if they have a good body and they are not shy to show the public. Men are also considered “famous” or “popular” if they have sex with a lot of women. It is not a problem that men get praised if they lead an active sexual life; however, it is a problem when society treats women differently because of double standard. A 24 years old elementary school teacher from Texas got fired for her twerking and great hiphop skills while being on Mexico for vacation. The video of her dancing caught the school administration’s attention when it went viral. The administration immediately fired her as they did not want to have any connection with someone who was dancing provocatively. Another 31 years old high school teacher named Kristin Sundman from Ohio was asked to resign when they find out about her being a porn star. Sundman was starred in a porn movie when she was in college to support her college tuition. She stopped making films after she graduated and joined the high school as a band teacher. But when her past was discovered, she was forced to resign by the school administration. While these two female teachers were being taunted for their sexuality, numerous attractive male teachers were 2 always praised by the student population and were never asked to leave because of their sexuality. Pietro Boselli is a math teacher who also happens to be an Armani model who occasionally model for underwear. He was ranked as world’s hottest math teacher by newspaper and magazines around the world. It is very sad that these kinds of double standards still exist in a year of 2016. Because of such alarming trouble in women’s lives because of sex shaming, I would like to change the judgmental outlook towards women because of wearing sexy clothes and having active sex life. Numerous prominent authors have written articles to express their concern and voice against sex shaming on women. Among them, class of politics of sexuality has covered articles written by Elizabeth Wood, Audre Lorde, Hazel Carby and Jo Doezema etc who fought for women’s rights in their writings. All these authors focus on sex shaming showing the readers how the society has double standards towards men and women. Author Audre Lorde focuses on eroticism in her article called “The uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as a power” in which she shed light on how society dictates women’s sex life and the paradox that lies within this dictatorship. She explains this paradox by saying, “On the one hand, the superficially erotic has been encouraged as a sign of female inferiority; on the other hand, women have been made to suffer and to feel both contemptible and suspect by virtue of its existence” (Lorde, 87). She mentions that society has limited women’s freedom by saying that they can be only sexy only when it is asked by men. Hazel V. Carby wrote “Policing in Black Woman’s Body in an Urban Context” where she states that numerous authors have expressed their beliefs which is Black women choose prostitution because they are unable to protect themselves and they need men to protect them (Carby, 740) and that they have this desire to avoid hard work and sees prostitution as an 3 easy pass (Carby, 741). Author Jo Doezema explores several authors’ opinion on female prostitution in her article “Ouch: Western Feminists’ ‘Wounded Attachment’ to the ‘Third World Prostitute’”. As she fights for women’s independence, she states, that there is no reason why women should be judged based on their sexuality and have complete independence in making their own choices. She also mentions that another author supported women’s rights by saying, “… we need to develop new spaces in which to decide politically, collectively, what is good, just and right, derived not from identitybased notions of ‘who I am’ but from a new ethics of ‘what I want for us’” (Doezema, 21). The issue of sex shaming on women is very prominent on college campuses as well. Women are often called “thot” or “hoe” if they happen to wear provocative clothes at the college parties. They are also called “whores” if they have sex with their peers and called “sluts” if they refuse to have sex with their peers. The situation gets even worse when female student on college campus gets sexually assaulted by their acquaintances. Approximately 90% of victims of sexual assault on college campuses know their attacker (Break the Cycle, Inc., 2005). College women can also experience domestic violence from a current or former partner. 21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner and 32% experienced dating violence by a pervious partner. 13% of college women report they were forced to have sex by a dating partner. 60% of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual or steady dating relationships. Many school administration refuse to help their female students whenever a sexual assault case is brought up as they do not want to get any negative media attention. Hence, they try to blame the victim by asking questions such as “were you drinking?”, “why were you wearing such provocative clothes?”, “why were you out late at night?”, “are you a virgin?” etc. 4 As a result, the victim gets blamed to be a victim and the offender does not get punished. These women often get called names and seen as the “troubled ones” around the campus. Many women tend to leave colleges after such incidents occur. It is absolutely tragic to see that brilliant students drop out of college and their perpetrators get to get the college education and have a perfect life. The lesson of equality between men and women should be stating from parents as the family is the first social institute where the kids get their education from. Every kid should be taught to treat women with respect just like they treat their mothers and sisters. Kids in school should be taught how to see their female friends as their equals. By firing teachers because of their sexuality can set a very damaging examples for the anyone that is in a school. It can really harm in building kids’ mentality if they see their male and female teacher doing the same activity but one gets fired and the other one get praises from students and faculty. If the choice of dress code and the choice of being an under wear model can be a male teacher’s constitutional right, it also needs to be seen as a female teacher’s constitutional right. By violating this constitutional right, the school administration is teaching their students about double standards and inequality in the society. Students in colleges need to be informed extra carefully about sex shaming, sexual assault, domestic violence etc. college women need to be educated about their rights, dangers in college campuses, and how to protect themselves from it. Violence against women is one of the most underreported crime in any given society or country. As off now, sexual assault is the second most violent crime committed on college campuses. Hence, it is vital that every college campus has necessary administration dedicated to this sensitive topic, such as, counselling center, sexual assault department, or any trained administrative figure that will be able to help 5 women to be confident and selfsufficient. For example, Rutgers University Newark has Health Promotion Division that is dedicated to educate students about diversity, equal rights, LGBTQ community, violence against student of campus etc. In general, I believe, if people are more aware of the issue and how it might damage people’s lives, we can change our actions to bring a positive change in the community. Every cultural and educational shift to the community takes long time to be implemented. However, we all have come a long way when women did not even have the right to vote. We still have a lot to work to do as women in today’s society are still seen as objects and weak. It can start from only one person and that can create a chain reaction by informing thousands other women around her. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, "Give me an educated mother, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation", it only takes an educated person to create a chain reaction. 6 Work Cited: 1. Doezema, Jo. “Ouch: Western Feminists’ ‘Wounded Attachment’ to the ‘Third World Prostitutes’”. Feminist Review. 2001. P 1638. 2. Carby, Hazel V. “Policing the Black Women’s Body in an Urban Context”. Critical Inquiry. 1992. P 738755. 3. Wood, Elizabeth Anne. “Working in the Fantasy Factory”. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 2000. P 531. 4. Lorde, Audre. “The Uses of the Erotica: The Erotic as Power”. Sister Outsider. 1984. 5. https://www.justice.gov/ovw/respondingcampussexualassault 6. http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/campusresourcelist 7. http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/12/elementaryschoolteacherfiredforbeingtoogoodat twerkingvideo/ 8. http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/14/highschoolbandteacherabruptlyresignsafterher pornstardoublelifegetsexposed/ 9. https://www.theguardian.com/science/alexsadventuresin numberland/2015/jun/11/worldshottestmathsteacherpietroboselliinterview 1 Tasfia Kamal Professor DowellBurton The Politics of Sexuality May 5 , 2016 Understanding Intersectionality The term intersectionality refers to when racism, sexism, classism and homophobia are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. People often disagrees to acknowledge the existence of intersectionality to avoid answering social concerns. Marginalized population often get secluded rom social movements because of their complex identity. For instance, when women were fighting for suffrage, white women were mostly active and black women felt left out in all those activities. White women were the face of all the huge newspaper articles and black women had no voice or the opportunity to fight with them. While we were making progress in sexism, we were neglecting racism. Same issue is faced by numerous LGBTQ allies who do not feel welcomed within the community because of their race, class or sex. The purpose of this essay is to shed light on intersectionality and elaborate Professor Kim, author Ashon T. Crawley and blogger Darnell L. Moore’s point of view on this social justice issue. If an individual does not confirm to gender normality, the public and press are less inclined to feel sympathy for him or her if anything harmful happens to them. Professor Kim explain in her blog article called “Sakia Gunn: Three years on, a few still remember” that Sakia Gunn’s horrific death was barely broadcasted compared to Matthew Shepard’s death on media because 2 of their differences. Matthew Shepard was a student of Wyoming college who was beaten and tortured to death because of his gender identity. The perpetrators pretended to be gay to gain Shepard’s trust and then tried to rob him. They brutally beat Shepard up and left him to die. Significant media coverage was given to Shepard’s case and people from all over United States came together to support and put an end to this brutality. On the other hand, Sakia Gunn was a 15 years old African American lesbian from Newark who was stabbed to death because of her sexual identity. Both of these cases are tragic, traumatic and started a new movement within the community to raise awareness about the LGBTQ culture. However, according to professor Kim’s data collection, the media and public posted way more articles and news about Shepard’s death than Gunn’s throughout the years. Sakia dressed like a boy and was walking on the streets at 3:30 in the morning which made her seem less universal than Matthew who was a likeable, attractive, upperclass white male (Kim, 1). Another blogger, Darnell L. Moore states similar opinion about Sakia Gunn’s death on his article “Black, LGBT, American”. He states that, Sakia Gunn did not match the image of any other broadly publicized victims which is why people barely heard the news of her death (Moore, 3). In the end, it comes down to who the public will feel sorry for and who’s story they want to hear. The media focuses on looking for “sexy news” rather than sympathizing and relaying the story to public. While both author sympathizes with Matthew Shepard’s heartbreaking death, they also ask the public and media to appreciate everyone for their difference and traits (Kim, 2). Some people might not want to follow the male or female stereotypes but that does not make them any less important to the society. In order to treat everyone equally, people need to start appreciating their differences. 3 Professor Kim also identifies racism and classism as the major reasons why Sakia Gunn’s story got limited coverage than Matthew Shepard. The blog ger states, “the murders of poor people, especially poor people of color, are less likely to receive major press attention than those who are wealthier and white” (Kim,1). She explains to the readers that Shepard was from a wealthy and white family but Gunn was from a poor and black family. As there is racism and classism even within the supportive LGBTQ community, Gunn’s story got less coverage and sympathy than Shepard’s. Blogger Darnell Moore gives examples of several famous people that he has seen coming out after establishing their careers. These people receive enormous amount of help from the people of the community and also get close attention of the media (Moore, 6). It is easier for people from the white and wealthy family to be comfortable with their sexuality than people from black and poor family as there are less resources available to them because of racism and classism. Blogger Moore describes at the end of his article that there is a few space for most black gay men to exist safely and there are even fewer sanctuaries for black queer youth, lesbians, and trans people to exist in their entirely as well (Moore, 6). Moore also shares his life story when he was a child and was attacked by bunch of kids from his school because of his sexuality. He felt unsafe every time he left home, felt like he does not belong and he did not get the proper help that he needed growing up. These bloggers bring up the issue of having less help available to a certain groups of people because of their race and class. Just like these bloggers, Wallace and Gunn’s stories are barely heard because of their complicated intersection of identities. In order to eradicate this situation, the LGBTQ community should not be focusing on intersectionality and try to provide equal treatments to all. 4 Structural racism within the LGBTQ community can exclude a large portion of people of color from any kind of progressive movements. To explain this structural racism within the LGBTQ community, the blogger Darnell Moore tells his readers how he feels his voice not being heard by them. He states, “I am black, but rendered invisible within most mainstream LGBT movements” (Moore, 1). Author Ashon T. Crawley raises the same concern in her article called “Can you be BLACK and Work Here?”. Crawley used to work at a nonprofit organization called Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that works towards helping gay and lesbians to feel comfortable in their school environment. In her article, she mentions how intersectional identities are usually not taken into account by these LGBTQ social justice organizations (Crawley, 186). After spending a certain amount of time with the organization, the author decided to leave them as she could not tolerate to see this injustice anymore. She mentions that the organization that she worked with refuses to acknowledge intersectionality and often refuses to help Black people. She did not feel that it was right to dedicate so much of her time to an organization that fetishize and tokenize black people (Crawley, 192). Hence, she quit working there and start looking for a queer community that will fully account for the intersectionality. She states, “… for social justice activism that fully accounts for the intersectionalities white socialjustice organizations often occlude, that must be heard outside the bewildered gaze of white, gay normativity that is, privilege and power that structures who is and is not visible and heard” (Crawley, 192). Personally, I find it unlikely and sad to see that an organization that asserts its dedication in diversity can let racism, classism and sexism get in the way of serving people. If majority of the queer community keep showing favor to white people and deprive the people of color, queer community for colored people needs to be established in 5 order to make a balance. Even that would not be justified as the goal is not to make segregated communities rather the goal is to work together and embrace the differences. It is vital for everyone to acknowledge the intersectionality of sexism, racism, classism and homophobia in order to help people that get marginalized because of their complex identity. In this society, white wealthy gay men have access to the most amount of resources, then white wealthy lesbian women, then poor white gay men, then poor white lesbian women, then black gay men, then black lesbian women, and the list keep going on. To address the same issue, Author Darnell Moore mentions in the beginning of his article that, “I am male and realize that my privileges are not granted to black lesbian and trans women” (Moore, 1). Later on the article he also shares a story about how him and his friends got kicked out of the queerest place of New York because of their race and he could not do anything about it (Moore, 2). This issue is so prominent that people see this injustice happening everywhere, even at the most diverse places like Newark, New Jersey. The first step to solve a problem is to acknowledge the problem; which is supported by the authors talked about above. The next step would be to be more open minded and welcoming to the differences and understanding the fact that the lives of lesbian and gay individuals are not disposable, regardless of their race, gender or class. Everyone should be offered the necessary help that they need the access to the resources that they deserve. The step after that would be to hold educational programs to spread the words about this and educate people as much as possible. A very efficient way to change to fix the media coverage issue is to prevent the media from only covering only “sexy news” or what sales the most. It is very tragic how people put business before humanity which should be changed immediately. Every person deserves to be visible and everyone’s story and experience deserves to be heard. 6 Through all the articles mentioned above, the authors have stated that we cannot decide to solve one problem by neglecting the other ones. It is very imperative to realize the concept of intersectionality and how it functions. It is also very important to point out the marginalized population and help them overcome the situation. Through women suffrage movement, we have seen how avoiding intersectionality cannot bring victory for all. It is the same situation for the LGBTQ community where no one can bring happiness and diversity in society by excluding the others. Work cited: 1. Crawley, Ashon T. “Can you be Black and Work Here?”. Souls. 2009. P 186200. 2. Professor Kim. “Sakia Gunn: Three years on, a few still remember”. Blogspot. May 11 , th 2006. 3. Moore, Darnell L. “Black, LGBT, American”. The Advocate. July 15 , 2013. th
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