Oppression?

I was reading some stuff earlier today where a certain amount of “which sexual minority is more oppressed?” was being debated. I suppose it’s natural to think that the minorities you belong to are the ones most under fire: if you’re homosexual, you might well think the bisexuals have an easier time of it, while if you’re bisexual, you’re probably more likely to see things the other way around. If I’m making too many generalizations, I apologize, but I’m speaking from some of my own experience: it’s a tendency of mine to see myself as persecuted for any or all of my sexual preferences.

I’d make the more rational argument, though, that just about anyone who doesn’t fall into a straight, vanilla, monogamous pattern of sexual interaction is by definition underprivileged or at a disadvantage. Minorities of any sort are disadvantaged because usually only the majority’s interests are taken into account. But I think sexual minorities have it particularly bad, because it’s much more difficult to bring sexual topics out into the open. It’s not easy for someone to say, “I feel like I’m being judged unfairly because of what I do in the privacy of my own home,” because: a) some people would prefer that not to stay private; and b) that thing you do in the privacy of your own home might have a bit of baggage that goes with it of the awkwardness/repression variety.

So. Queer folks, kinky folks, polyamorous folks, genderqueer folks, folks with any fetish you can think of, and some you can’t — and any other sexual minorities I haven’t named — all are equally repressed, I suppose, because anyone who isn’t straight, vanilla and monogamous is regarded as “abnormal” and therefore their desires are improper or invalid. There may not be a “fetishists’ rights” movement the way there is an LGBT rights movement, but that doesn’t mean that “fetishists” (I may or may not have invented that word, and it may or may not be politically correct) haven’t got their own slew of oppression problems. The reason there isn’t a movement like that is because it’s easy to desexualize the current LGBT rights movement: rights like marriage and adoption and the distribution of other legal benefits don’t at all need to be associated with what a couple does in bed (or not in bed, if they prefer). But there are other aspects of sexual preference that it’s far more difficult to approach from a non-sexual perspective, and that freaks out the prudish, and the prudish tend to be the people who pass legislation.

But there I go, suggesting that everyone else is so much more oppressed than LGBT folk, which is not what I meant to suggest at all. On the flip side of the coin, sexual orientation (in a Kinsey sense) and gender identity, because they are often more public and less bedroom-y manifestations of one’s sexuality, get targeted in a sometimes more malicious way than other aspects of sexual preference do, I think. I haven’t collected any evidence, of course, but I’d be willing to bet that more people are beat up for being, say, transgendered than they are for, say, having a crush fetish — for the simple reason that most people who have crush fetishes (again, I’m willing to bet) don’t walk down the street with a big sign on that says “I have a crush fetish”. If you find yourself to be transgressing gender norms, there’s not a whole lot you can do about that sign, even if you wanted to.

Hmm. By the way, does anyone have anything they’d like to hear/read me write about?

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