As an ally, I personally find it off-putting when people ask me if I am queer. I am not queer. I don’t have to be queer to support my friends. I have experimented with my sexuality, a lot. However, if I really had to choose a label, I’d choose to be a heterosexual, non-homophobic straight woman who is also an ally.
To add insult to injury, I feel even more misunderstood, when people ask me if practicing BDSM also means being a part of the LGBT community. I feel like screaming in their faces for their ignorance. I feel like it’s not my responsibility to explain to them that LGBT and BDSM are two different spectrums of human sexuality and may or may not necessarily overlap.
However, I patiently explain. Every single time. Simply because I think it IS my responsibility to explain to people the nuances of sexuality and how it affects people like me.
At the same time, do I wish my task was easier? Absolutely.
I do wish the queer community was a bit more proactive and supportive about dispelling these myths. In the initial interactions I had with some queer folks in India, I was nearly antagonised by the fact that they were almost expanding the acronym to LGBTQIAP (pansexual) K+ to also include ‘K’ for ‘kink’. To me it sounded just like the homogenisation of sexual politics, like the homogenising of all minorities and all sects and cults in Hinduism, and yada yada. You get the drift, right?
I felt like a lot of people judged me more because they confused kink with LGBT. While I personally am not bothered about their judgement, it feels like, in a way, there was a strong need for them to dissociate LGBT from kink. The moment I explained the finer nuances to the lesser discerning, they would suddenly start treating me like a different person and their acceptance of me as a practicing BDSM enthusiast would be different. Maybe they thought I was ‘bad enough’ by being a kinkster, but I would have been ‘doubly bad’ if I were a lesbian or bisexual kinkster! Lesser mortals, I tell you! Humour apart, to me it felt like my kinkiness was diluting the cause of the vast community of people I hold very dear – my LGBT and other queer friends.
Now beyond the judgement that comes from conflating kink with queer issues, which honestly shouldn’t matter and mostly doesn’t matter, what is another threat that is posed by the inclusion of kinkiness in the queer spectrum? Limiting queerness to being L,G,B,or T is overly generalising or simplifying it, I agree. However, I also feel that forms of sexual expression like kink or for that matter men who want to have sex only with sex dolls, should not be put under the LGBTQ spectrum either. The former are sexual behaviours and expressions, they are not sexual orientations and mixing them up with the latter dilutes the issues and causes of both spectra. To make a somewhat negative analogy, it’s like mixing work problems with personal problems and then adding an extended family problem to it! The conflation just makes it all feel like an insurmountable problem to solve.
I do not underestimate the power of inclusiveness, or the strength that allied causes have, or even the fact that the communities dealing with each of these subsets of human sexuality have a lot to gain from making alliances. However, I personally feel that any cause, specially one like kink that is in its nascent stages, needs its own space to grow, to affect enough people, before it merges with the larger cause of queerness, or sexuality, or even humanity.
Cover Image: Pixabay