on being able to ask each other without assuming that asking is an attack

The default assumption is that certain people will not be part of community. That assumption comes from years, decades, sometimes centuries of erasure based in structural, society-and-community-wide stigma, discrimination, vilification, hate, indifference, and worse. That assumption of non-“inclusion” is not coming from do-nothing negative-nancydom, but an accurate, tried and true reflection of the reality that people are continually not only left out, but actively excluded, alienated, erased and violated on many fronts, and a desire to have that end. 

Anytime the non-excluded group is asked about that, in even the kindest manner, hackles rise and defenses get tingled. There are many reasons for that. While not the only reason, a really big one can be that privilege –even and sometimes especially that of us well-intended sorts, to be sure– doesn’t like to be questioned. It is simply the status quo. Why would that be questioned? Or why would anyone assume anyone meant to or even did exclude? How rude and presumptuous! No no. Fact-based. Realistic. Plain as day. Status quo. Centuries.

So when you do not know if queer visibly disabled folks are represented in queer works or queer people of colour or queer trans women or queer fat folks or any number of other queer folks who are routinely, consistently, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, excluded from queer communities including cultural production, say something. Ask. Don’t always wait for others to ask the questions. Don’t always put it on the excluded group. And if you learn that there are indeed folks you thought were excluded who are actually part of the project, share that information, because while you don’t get cookies for “inclusion”, it means something (to me anyways) to see ourselves reflected in some even small way. 

This nancy wants to celebrate as well as challenge. The two don’t have to be seen as fighting one another all the time, and in fact, they most often go together.


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