Se-lah: “Queering The Cause”: On Gay Men’s Violence Against Women

I am a Queer man who works to address gender based violence in the mainstream “movement to end male violence against women.” In this movement, I have experienced some very troubling things. I have witnessed how this movement operates with a theoretical lens that dramatically under-complicates the nuances of gender, race and power and often erases the realities of sexual orientation.* I have witnessed how homophobia, heterosexism, able-ism, age-ism and much more have been dramatically ignored in the context of creating an organizational and collaborative agenda. I have seen firsthand the horrors of what happens when these agencies get in bed with the criminal legal system, which often leads to them cycling the same conditions they seek to eradicate.

As a very visible and vocal queer man my very presence has often been disruptive in these spaces. It has been disruptive because, among many other things, the “violence against women” dialogue is intrinsically heterosexist and homophobic, not to mention virulently sexist. Through my work with numerous organizations that fall under this canon “of violence against women” I have been taken aback at how the generational analysis coupled with a “second wave” narrative of power and gender have produced an enviroment that does very little to acknowledge the deeply rooted relationship between heterosexism, homophobia and sexism. It has also been intriguing to me how many of the organizations who cling to this ideological perspective claim to be unaware of or are dissonant from organizations like Incite who have explored the complexities of these challenges in detail.

Throughout the next month, I will be addressing many of these issues and much more through the blog series: “Queering The Cause: Ending Male Violence Against Women.” Some of the issues I will be addressing include:

1) How the intersection of male privilege and the non-profit industrial complex inhibits male leaders from being held accountable to their actions.

2) How the “violence against women” discourse continually robs women of their agency making women objects that violence happens “to” as opossed to individuals who make choices, have power and enact violence; which erases and minimizes the subsequent violence of women against their children, women against their partners (heterosexual, queer, lesbian and otherwise defined) and violence in non- romantic relationships between each other.

3) How the “violence against women” narrative concretizes and supports the mutual combat discourse between men (In other words, you shouldn’t hit a woman, but it’s okay to hit a man) a discourse which justifies violence against queer men, boys and in the mainstream trans-phobic mind: trans women.

4) The lack of accountability and exploration of queer men’s male privilege; which is directly linked to the heterosexism of a movement that subconsciously argues “Only “real” “straight” men hit women or are violent” See the Sweet Tea: Southern Queer Men’S Proclamation For more on this.

5) The lack of investigation and exploration into how queer and lesbian women uniquely experience male violence which is directly linked to the erasure of women’s sexuality when it is not in service to patriarchy and the minimization of women’s sexuality as a marker of women’s experience.

6) The silence of the mainstream “movement to end male violence against women” as it relates to the very public continuing murders of trans women.

And much more. It is my hopes that in exploring these issues a dialogue can be created that can lead to education and understanding. As always, I invite your comments, feedback, feelings and thoughts.

This blog series will kick off tomorrow, so check back here tomorrow morn!

If you have topic idea/questions or would like to submit a guest blog based on these or similair experiences in this work, email me at Yolo@yoloakili.com

Until next time,

Yolo

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5 Responses to Se-lah: “Queering The Cause”: On Gay Men’s Violence Against Women

  1. Charlene Ball says:

    Yolo, you are asking questions that need to be asked and saying things that need to be said. I’ve had similar thoughts for a long time. Thank you for your willingness to complicate the issues.

  2. cansv says:

    This is the micro-politics of marginality and irrelevance, the identity politics which is the left wing of neo-liberalism and, despite its bluster and pretension, is in no way radical. For MLA conferences and postage-stamp sized areas of Manhattan and SF/Oakland.

  3. I am looking forward to this conversation! I am currently editing an anthology called “Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement” which is working with problems that arise for queer people working in mainstream anti-sexual violence work and for those of us surviving sexual violence. This is right on time for me…

    Thanks again.

  4. Nancy Schwartzman says:

    Yes, Yolo! Thank you for this conversation, look forward to more of your thoughts!

  5. Malakh Levinson says:

    Thanks Yolo. These are questions are doing to myself long ago.
    But I honestly think violence against women and childrenwill never stop. My experience within the LGTBQIS movement has been dissappointing. I do really believe women and I mean all of us: lesbian, straight, transgender, intersexual should start our own fight together and far away from gay or straight men. Reality regarding to women rights is devastating.

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