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Posts Tagged ‘intersection’

The connections between race and sexuality that Patricia Collins mentions, for me, are really relatable. Even though she and many other feminist studies writers have focused on African American men and prison power dynamics, as an Asian man, I can see exactly what they might be talking about in my own history.

When I was growing up, I had a really high voice; it was really really high. Some people might have said things such as, “You sound like a girl”. It really was that high pitched. And ultimately, many people at my school assumed that “He must be gay”. It’s true. People even asked me about it.

When I told them “No”, many of my peers were confounded. “That can’t be!”, they said. They assumed I must be lying and this was big issue for them for a long while. But then, many people suddenly turned around and said that I wasn’t lying after all. And I was confused.

It turns out, according to some individuals, that my voice was so “feminine” because I was Asian. “Asian men are just much less masculine and we should just accept you because you can’t help but be that way”.

Now, I realize that this was an example of the connectedness between race and sexuality. Like African American women or the less masculine African American men that were called “bitch” or “dicksucker”, my say on who I was was ignored by my surroundings but instead got replaced by peoples assumptions. And conversely to African Americans who were threatened because of their race, I was “validated” as acceptable because of mine.

No one paused to think that my sexuality, a private issue, was being violated. And then no one stopped to think that “blaming” a whole race of people for my “situation” was sort of racist. Reading such passage has enlightened me that, in this scenario, there were interlocking systems of power at play. Race and gender, in my case and many others, were used as intersectional societal methods of control at the expense of those affected by such assumptions.

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Image Source: http://trauma.blog.yorku.ca/2015/12/south-asian-queer-community-lacks-visibility/  (Artist – Jinesh Patel)

(Content and Trigger Warning: Self Harm, Suicide, Substance Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence, Bullying)

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I often find that mental illness and queerness aren’t addressed properly or constructively when talked about together. So often the public at large would have us believe that queerness is a result of mental illness or that mental illness is the result of queerness exclusively. With this in mind, the queer community will often push back on society’s behavior by talking about the two exclusively from each other, frequently ignoring all the ways mental illness intersect. That’s does not go to say that queerness is the result of mental illness or vice versa at all, but rather it shouldn’t be ignored that many people in the queer community go through both because of the way society has constructed and reacted towards queerness. For example, queerness has often been perceived as a deviant thing, it has historically been punished and worked against in a variety of ways. (more…)

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