How not to deal with criticism

So yesterday I whipped up a storm of self-righteous indignation over on the ‘I’m not gay but I don’t care if you are’ Facebook page. Apparently happy-clappy liberal sentiment can quite quickly turn to anger if you puncture their self-congratulatory bubble of bland platitudes with some actual analysis and experience of how oppression manifests itself.

In the end, me and several of my friends were blocked from the page and all our comments deleted. I’m not entirely sure what I expected to happen – I guess “I see where you’re coming from and will rethink my approach to this” wasn’t realistic. Oh well. The whole drama did raise an important question, though:

Are members of an oppressed class entitled to make demands regarding what kind of support they receive from members of the oppressor class?

Yes.

Moving on, here’s a selection of some of the really dumb shit people said to me, with snarky commentary:

Obviously this fellow doesn’t understand the position of a person who is not homosexual but is not all up in arms and offended by the fact that others are, so maybe he shouldn’t judge those of us in a different position than him just as we don’t judge homosexuals, eh?

I’m sure it’s a tough position. In many ways tougher than actually facing discrimination…

This article shows the same level of maturity as the child learning to ride his bike, who pushes away the hands of the parent attempting to support and protect them with the insistence that they can “Do it themselves”. I do not understand the determination to reject an ally.

Thank God we have straight people to patronise protect us, otherwise we might actually fight our own struggle on our own terms scrape a knee.

If the ally didn’t announce their hetero orientation at the outset, wouldn’t that be to invite a comment like, “Honey, you can’t speak for me! You don’t have the first clue about what it means to be gay in a predudiced society.”

“Honey”

I am an allie. I DON’T have to be an allie the way you say I do. I CAN be an allie on my own terms. If you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to be here.
I put a lot of thought into this name and my intentions behind the name were calculated.

We get tons of hatemail from homophobes and occasionally attacked by those that we fight for.
Some of us are just way to picky…

The phrasing and “Tone” of this page name is intended to provoke thought in homophobic people, or people that are otherwise indifferent to the suffering of others.
I have no (inherent) desire to please gay people with this page…that was just a pleasant by-product. The name inspires other people that aren’t gay to look within themselves and ask, “Do I care if he(or she) is gay? and if I do, then ‘why’.”
It works wonders…you should see the response I get from the sticker on my car. It provokes thought…which, I might add, is easy to see in people’s faces.
If it pisses off a few people in the process, then so be it…at least they’re thinking.

These are all from the page founder “Mike Thought”, who apparently gets to decide what it means to be an “allie” and doesn’t have to listen to what actual queer people think. Although I guess if you make up your own word you do get to define it…

Saying I don’t care if you are gay means just that. I choose people who I want to be friends with based on their charater and morals. Everything else doesn’t matter to me..age, gender, race or sexual orintation.

Yup. It’s totally possible to just declare yourself blind to age, gender, race and sexuality and no longer be responsible for your privilege.

The fact that this guy uses ‘queer’ all throughout the article invalidates his argument. Queer usually implies some kind of departure from normalcy, I couldn’t finish reading, because he used it so often.

How about you not use the term queer when complaining about semantics lmfao!!!!

This would be hilarious if one of the page admins hadn’t taken it upon himself to censor all comments explaining why some of us choose to identify as ‘queer’. Apparently heteros also get to decide how other people describe their sexuality.

Whomever wrote this is a very sad person. I can see the hurt and mistreatment by the way they argue and nitpick the semantics of this Facebook site, especially a site that has dedicated their time to support the who I am assuming is a gay person writing this article. Time to accept your probably sad and scary past and move forward with your life to one that is more welcoming today than it was yesterday.

People like this are probably not worth the time and stress. Just ignore them, it takes someone really unhappy with themselves to attack someone who is trying to spread peace and do good.

I might say I hate being otherised, but what I really mean is I hate myself…

This post: “You can be straight, just don’t assert it or use it for acceptance, because that might offend some people”

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: “You can be gay, just don’t assert it or use it for acceptance, because that might offend some people”

“You’re oppressing straight people!”

Stop hating and nitpicking. Leave that for the straight homophobes. You’re not doing the gay community any favors by spewing hatred and judgement. Isn’t that exactly what you ask the heterosexual community NOT to do? I think that’s a little bit hypocritical there aren’t you?

I don’t even.

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13 comments
  1. These sentiments are absolutely not held by most gay people though. Most gays have no problem with people identifying as straight and most certainly do not view heterosexual self-identification as an act of oppression against gays. I’m not saying that means there is no oppression, but when your sentiments are so completely and utterly alien to the thinking of most gays, it’s probably time to re-think your approach.

    • “Most gays have no problem with people identifying as straight and most certainly do not view heterosexual self-identification as an act of oppression against gays.”

      Cool. I never said it was generally. It is within specific contexts and in specific phrasings. This is one of those.

      • So people should refrain from heterosexual self-identification in some circumstances or else they are seeking to perpetuate heterosexual privilege? That is nonsense, Aidan. Is a white person who stands up against racism a phony tool of privilege entrenchment because they do not (and cannot) mask their race in so doing? What about men who stand up to sexism?

  2. I hope that you are able to work through your anger at some point Aidan.

  3. I wanted the name to be edgy and thought provoking. I do have a sense of what is ‘politically correct’ and I shied away from that on purpose.
    I never actually thought this page would get so big. It never occurred to me…so I guess I should expect some criticism. I guess I thought people would ask questions and base their judgements off the information received from those questions.
    That is never the case though.
    I usually become aware of people’s grievances by way of their preconceived judgements about me via the sudden and random outcry from someone with whom, I’ve never spoken too.
    They always claim that by the mere virtue of the name, I’m judging them. But they don’t ever ask questions before they start judging me. I find myself in a position where I’m defending this page and myself from people I don’t know who aren’t even willing to listen to me because they already have it all figured out.
    Then they get upset because I don’t welcome that sort of criticism with open arms.

    Do you see the irony here…?

    This person (Aidan) who authored this blog doesn’t know me or anything about me. He has never contacted me to inquire about my intent, or interest in this social issue.
    He has spent a great deal of time trying to smear my name and denounce everything I do, based on the name of a page that was never intended to please him in the first place.
    He has made many assumptions about me and posts my comments and snippets of my comments all over the internet, he has judged me, based on his own conclusions.

    I’m no longer going to entertain this jackassery in attempt to prove his ideas about me are wrong. They are, but he isn’t listening, which leads me to believe he is looking for attention.

    For anyone that wants to know why I chose the name that I chose for that particular page, feel free to contact me. Anyone with questions about anything else, feel free to contact me. I’m everywhere… “mikethought”, google me.

    BUT, know this…as of the time and date of this posting, he has avoided my attempts to open a dialogue, in favor of insistently declaring his divine wisdom with regard to my intent and character.

    This is exactly the behavior that plagues his efforts to fit in according to the author of this blog.
    All of the rest of you that have jumped on his bandwagon and offered up your own unique Dr.-Phil-ish character profile of me are just as guilty as those that live their lives in fear and hate and ignorance and bigotry.
    I see very little difference between your attitudes and those of the KKK or NOM.

  4. yea, truth isn’t always pretty. It sucks, I know. You have the power though Aidan, you can stop being a fascist anytime you want.
    Good luck with that. 🙂

  5. Stop being a fascist, Aldan, can’t you see you’re hurting the straight people?

    God, it drives me up the wall that someone who is supposedly trying to be an ally to gays consistently posts things that are either condescending in tone – that title basically says “as a privileged person, I’m allowing you to exist in the same cultural space as me” – or an outright insult to the oppressed party he is supposedly defending.

    Look, Mike, I’m sure you meant well when you made the group, nothing against your intentions, but a dialectic is not a substitute for proper debate. And in a proper debate you recognize when you’re wrong, you don’t resort to name calling and censorship.

  6. I will admit one thing and one thing only, our definitions of wrong are different.
    What makes you think I don’t take into consideration what my gay friends, old and new, think?
    When the VAST majority of gay people that happen across my page are thanking me for my efforts, why should I take any of this seriously? And, if the VAST majority of gay people that happen across my page aren’t expressing these feelings, how am I wrong? Because a you and Aidan say so? Really? After two years, Aidan comes along and says I’m wrong and I’m expected to agree with that? Then what? I change the name of the page to something pleasing to Aidan that doesn’t accurately state the message I’m trying to convey? Until the next Aidan comes along and doesn’t like the name…then I change it for New Aidan…and on and on and on…

    When I am wrong, I have no problem admitting it, but that’s the case here.

    What we have here is someone trying very hard to impose their views on someone else. I didn’t ask Aidan to like my page, he did that on his own…then started bitching about it. If you don’t like it, go away. Its really just that simple. If my page doesn’t represent you then find one that does. If you can’t…do what I did, make your own. Its real easy.

    By the way, I didn’t call Aidan a fascist. Aidan called Aidan a fascist.

    • Putting forward your views forcefully in a effort to convince people to agree with them is very different from imposing your views. I’ve no power to impose my views on you even if I wanted to.

      In any case, the article isn’t really about you; it’s about what “I’m not gay but” means to me, and, from the feedback I’ve gotten, a lot of others.

      Maybe a lot of gay people like your page. A lot of gay people have suffered so much that they welcome any kind of support, even if it’s phrased in a way that others us. Maybe a lot of gay people genuinely don’t see the problem I’ve outlined.

      Personally, I demand a higher standard from those who want to call themselves my ally. I demand not just tolerance, but understanding and inclusion. I demand that members of a the privileged heterosexual class actively work to undermine that privilege. I demand an end to heteronormativity, not just to be treated a little nicer within that system.

      The point is not that I speak for all queers and therefore you should do what I say – it’s that I speak for myself as a queer person, and you should factor what I say into your thinking.

      But fuck it, I’m also right, and I’m gonna continue struggling and arguing against both straight allies and the mainstream LGBT movement when I think they’ve got it wrong politically.

      • You make some good points. I see the validity in what you express, but the name of the page doesn’t mean what you think. Your intreptation is not accurate. There’s just no way to convey that, I guess.
        For what its worth, I have suscribed to your blog. Your views will be factored into my thinking in some way from now on. I’m not nearly as obtuse as you may think. In trurh, I want the same thing that you do. Again, not sure how to convey that properly.
        I am not going to change the name, but if you can get past that, I’m interested in more dilogue

  7. Zack S. said:

    “You have the power though Aidan, you can stop being a fascist anytime you want.”

    “By the way, I didn’t call Aidan a fascist.”

  8. William said:

    It’s similar to how I feel about the ‘Straight but not narrow’ slogan. I like to work on that assumption, that people are decent, or that being narrow is not the default if you’re straight. I don’t go around saying, ‘White but not racist’ and expect to get credit for it.

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