Hello again fellow alts!
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, the reason for that is what this post is all about. Let’s get right into it.
I was researching Stonewall, having decided that this event was the starting point for the modern alternative movements as we know them today. And as I’m fairly certain we all know about Stonewall, I was looking for the forgotten and ignored bits of history, rather than the overall story. I found several bits of history which intrigued me, and to my utter disgust had been completely glossed over, edited to fit a new narrative, or just completely dismissed.
So I wrote my piece, and I wrote it as I write everything – my feels – specifically an extreme amount of anger at what I had found out – were quite evident. I will tell you now that I have, even now weeks later, an extreme amount of anger about what I found. Knowing that my feels would be lathered thick into my writing, I shared it with the STR group and a couple of friends to get their opinions on just how bad my rage was showing through.
They all essentially told me the same thing – “you, Char, cannot print this.”
I was, to say the least, upset. My first thought was that it was horribly written, so of course, I asked why I shouldn’t print it. The answers I received dumbfounded me. Don’t get me wrong, they were all kind, generous in their praise on my work, but every single one of them told me one or more of the following as a specific reason I should not print my Stonewall piece –
- You are cisgender
- You are heterosexual
- You are a woman
- You are white
- You can’t possibly understand the struggle
- It’s not your story to tell
So essentially, my friends and family, the people I love and trust more in the world, told me that the community that I called my own doesn’t want me or my opinions… that anything I had to say would be ignored because of one of those reasons… to go to the back of the bus, sit down, and shut up.
Let that sink in for a moment, if you will.
They didn’t mind that I was angry at how horribly certain factions of our community had treated other factions.
It didn’t bother them that my rage was practically dripping from every word as I explained how wrong it is to try and change our history to gloss over the atrocities that were committed on alts by alts.
It wasn’t a problem that I blatantly pointed out how selfish and rude it was to “adjust” the identities of the past to fit the narrative of today or how we see our personal stories.
They didn’t even care that I was quite happily tearing into some of the alternative communities oldest institutions for their prejudices.
Nope. All that was fine and dandy and probably well deserved, things the community needed to be reminded of, in fact.
Just not by me. Not by the white cis-het female.
That sent me into rather a tailspin, and I stepped away from the keyboard. As the front person and page manager for STR, that meant no updates. As I’ve mentioned before, the group is small. I was searching for a way to deal with this new information.
As you might have guessed, my first instinct was to just shut it all down and walk away. I’m not the type to stay where I’m obviously not wanted nor needed. But the more I thought about it, the more that didn’t seem to be exactly true.
The community as a whole may not want me, after all the only thing that makes me fit in is a streak of kink and a decidedly weird demeanor that somehow accepts the alternative community more than I ever have the mainstream, but I have my friends and I’m good with that. As for the needing me… well… maybe they do and maybe they don’t. I need them, and that will just have to do for now.
You now know why it’s been awhile.
The reason for this exceedingly long post is this – I still don’t know where I go from here. Having spoken to those same friends and family, we all agreed that perhaps this is something the community also needs to consider, and I’m posting this in hopes of getting a conversation started.
So I’m here to ask you, dearest alternative community… what now? What do you make of this situation? Where do I go from here?
Should I do what is suggested, and remain silent as I post only what someone on the approved list (not white, cis, het, or female in the case of writing about alt men) has to say on… well… anything?
Should I speak my truth, and damn the consequences?
What happens to STR if I do either of these things? Can it become the bastion of welcome and acceptance and information that we started it to be? Should I have just shut it all down, wrote off all the money spent as a lost cause, and went back to the mainstream no matter how unhappy I am there?
Does it even matter who I am as an individual? Or do the happenings of my birth – race/sex/gender/orientation – and the behaviors of others, neither of which I have any control over, get to decide if I’m allowed to speak?
… what now?