The Many Faces of Violence

I read a quote that struck me yesterday, from lesbian activist Kathleen Sadaat: “There is a violence in not being able to live your life, and whether you are ever actually struck by someone is not the only issue.  Anything that pushed you toward being less than human, anything that tells you you are not a part of the human family, is a violent act.”

What a powerful statement.  This is why I crave lesbian discussion groups, conscious-raising, etc (unfortunately not available in my area).  I just want to believe that I am part of the human family, and though I know intellectually that there are others like me, and even know other lesbians, the lack of lesbian representation in the media, in news, in literature, etc., is something that I think is very subconsciously powerful.  These messages say “you are different.  You are not wanted.”  Whenever I write a paper arguing that LGBT people are just like everyone else, that we deserve rights, a voice in my head is saying, “no you don’t.  You’re an animal.  What makes you human?  What says that those people aren’t right, that you’re not sinning, that you aren’t less than they are?”  Where does this voice come?  Nowhere conscious, that’s for sure.  I was never taught these things, and never believed them, but somewhere I do.

The same is true when it comes to this latent fear of men and masculinity I’ve apparently been carrying around without knowing about it.  I don’t know that it’s there, but when it surfaces, it’s violent, and it will take no prisoners.  I read a post by a kinky lesbian blogger today and my reaction to some of her comments was abject fear.  Why?  I understand the sentiment behind her feelings (she’s a top, incidentally) and I see why others might want to be put in a submissive position for those reasons.  But emotionally, I reacted strongly to it.  If I trust someone with that part of me, will they break me?  Can I trust anyone?  And why am I afraid of all this?  It doesn’t make sense, intellectually.  I’ve never been raped, harassed, or sexually abused.  There are no skeletons in my closet.  Men have never given me reason to fear them, nor have aggressive women.  The only answer I have is that it’s socialized.  Maybe one day if I make enough money I’ll look for a therapist.

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About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on August 11, 2008, in feminism, pop culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Sometimes I feel like you are living in a world that is entirely different from the one that I inhabit. Perhaps it is a factor of age (I’m 40), location (I live in Boston) or expectations?

    I hope you find the peace you are looking for.

  2. Hello,

    I have listed your posting on http://www.gayagenda.com in the “voices from the blogosphere” section. I think your writing is very dynamic.

    Just wanted you to know!

  3. alesbianandascholar

    Kat – You may be right. We all have different experiences and expectations. It isn’t something that gets to me all the time, but it’s a thought I had at the moment.

    James – Thank you! I appreciate the link 🙂

  1. Pingback: The Many Faces of Violence: A Lesbian’s Perspective : Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com

  2. Pingback: Violence Against Gays Still a Reality « My Gay Weblog

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