What we must necessarily give up

Do I agree that people who want to be allies of marginalized groups “must necessarily give up some of their cherished right to self-expression, recognizing that some thoughts, even valuable ones, may not be worth expressing in a particular way if that would needlessly cause pain to others”?

No, I don’t. Not put that way at least. But then it’s inconsistent – it’s “must necessarily” at the beginning but then “may not be worth expressing” at the end. It’s definite at the beginning but then has three hedges in a row at the end – may not, in a particular way, if that would. The “must necessarily” gets modified almost as soon as it appears. But hedged or not, I don’t agree with the claim.

Mind you, it isn’t simply a matter of “their cherished right to self-expression,” which is a rather sadly dismissive way of putting it for a writer. I’m pretty sure I’ve never once talked about my cherished right to self-expression, or my right to self-expression at all. That’s not what I’m after, it’s not what I’m interested in, it’s not what I do. Fuck self-expression, frankly. It’s on the same shelf with self-indulgent and self-admiring.

No, this isn’t about me “expressing” my precious self. Who gives a rat’s ass about my precious self? I don’t, so certainly no one else is going to. I think selves are overrated. (That’s not the same as saying I have no ego. Sure I do. But that’s a different thing.)

No, what I’m after is understanding, which tends to be aided by discussion. I want to understand the issues around trans activism, and what is meant by various slogans and claims. I want to write about my questions on my blog. Do I agree that I “must necessarily” give up some of that if I want to be an ally to trans people? No. No, I don’t agree that I must give up asking serious questions on a minor blog. I would agree that I shouldn’t say hateful shit about marginalized groups on my blog; I would agree that no one should do that, including me. But trying to figure out the discourse? I don’t think that should be off-limits – I don’t think it should be a third rail or a “mine field” or anything else we should be afraid to approach.

We’re talking about politics here. What good is a politics that you’re not allowed to discuss? What good is a politics that triggers epic freakouts over minor differences? What good is a politics that silences its own demographic?

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