Which vocal minority are we abusing and which are we flattering?

No you may NOT leave, the doors are all locked, the windows are barred, no one can hear your screams.

Laurie Penny:

There is no LGB without the T. It’s deeply disappointing that a vocal minority has devoted its misguided energies to persecuting its vulnerable trans siblings instead of building a better world together. Transphobia is shameful and has no place in any progressive movement.

But there is LGB without the T, of course. How could there not be? They’re not the same thing, so why have people become so convinced so quickly that there is no one without the other? In one direction, that is – T is allowed to caucus by itself, but LGB is not. But why?

We got an answer of sorts. Alessandra Asteriti asked:

There was until 2015. Are you saying Stonewall was transphobic until 2015? Are you saying that while the T can have its own organisations, the LGB cannot? Are you even listening to your own little fascist homophobic voice?

LP answered:

1)a little bit, yes. They’re doing much better now! 2) There’s a difference when a group is organising specifically to exclude another marginalised group 3) don’t be silly

The answer is that LGB is not allowed to have its own organization because it’s doing so “specifically to exclude another marginalised group.”

That’s not a very compelling reason. The only reason it can even be said to be doing it to exclude another marge group is because T was arbitrarily and not very reasonably added to the LGB. If the T hadn’t been randomly tacked onto the LGB a few years ago there would be no need to pull the tacks out now.

And this word “exclude” is wildly overused, and unfair. “Exclusion” implies shutting people out who should be there – shutting them out for bad invidious reasons. Because it implies that, it should be used with care. I’m sitting here at my desk – just me. I’m not “excluding” the billions of people who aren’t sitting here at my desk too, I’m just not inviting them all in. I don’t have to invite them all in. Some facilities and organizations do have to let everyone in: specifically, public facilities like buses and schools and parks; that doesn’t mean they all do.

Activist groups can’t invite everyone in without instantly ceasing to be activist groups, because activism is about something, something specific, and so it “excludes” people who oppose that something, and it also “excludes” people who don’t oppose the something but do have a different something they are activist about. Feminist groups are not required to “include” environmentalists in their groups, even if they are environmentalists themselves. People are allowed to organize around their own concerns, and are not required to include people who want to organize around different concerns.

It’s pretty simple, and used to be taken for granted, but the Laurie Pennys and Owen Joneses are very invested in not seeing it.

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