On Rolequeerness – “sharpening the blade”


I originally wrote the following as a reblog/comment on rolequeer‘s post, “On Rolequeerness – “blunting the tip”, but since apparently beyondthevalleyofthefemdoms is still using the #rolequeer tag despite saying they were not going to anymore, and since reblogs do not show up in Tumblr’s tracked tags, I thought I’d chuck this into a post of its own.

Also, I refer to the author of beyondthevalleyofthefemdoms as “Crosswords” in the post below, but given that this person insists on comparing me to pedophiles and racists and shoehorning their way into conversations I’m having about my own traumatic experiences, in the future I’ll be using Crosswords’ legal name to refer to them in all such conversations, which is Sara D. Luterman.

[…snipped for length…]

Ditto! Wtf, Maymay.

Your disagreements with my friend don’t warrant this kind of treatment. They’re not abusive (like you’re being), they’re not a bully (like you’re being).

Would that we all could be so cavalier about our lives and identities, and get money from strangers like some kind of kinky queer messiah. A lot of us can’t, and doxxing one such person because you have a personal disagreement with them is petty as fuck, at best, and at it’s core is abusive and harmful.

(Emphasis mine.)

I’m reblogging this to highlight three things:

  1. The only thing you need to know about the anti-rolequeer backlash is its outright support through actions if not also words (but also often words) of the abuser/survivor binary, the abusive/consensual binary, the powerful/vulnerable binary. To wit, “We’re not abusers, you are.” Beyond being both an immature and a weak argument, this unwillingness to critically examine one’s own behavior is actually a major contributing factor to the prevalence of abusive behavior, as I detailed in my essay, “Complicity with Abuse”. Empirically speaking, the people who behave most abusively towards others are the ones who deny that they have the capacity to behave abusively, that they “are not that kind of person.”
  2. rolequeer made a good, succinct observation today:

    Funny how there are people writing who have a problem with ‘the rolequeers’ or ‘the rolequeer writers’ or the rolequeer community’ and when you question them it always turns out they have a problem with one particular rolequeer thinker and they

    • are unwilling to examine the history that caused that one person to be pretty damn pissed off and agressive
    • describe the whole rolequeer group as ‘abusive’ regardless of how all the others act
    • are unwilling to examine the value of rolequeer ideas seperate from that one perosn

    Now I have no intention to get into that debate any further because it is going nowhere and commenting on it does nothing but harm, but I do wanna say:

    it sound like whatever the circumstances, some people just don’t want conversations about rolequeerness to take place. 

    Yeah, fuck that shit. I’m gonna keep talking.

  3. Expert abusers know that in order to continue bullying and abusing others with impunity, they need to provoke their targets in ways that authority figures will not interpret as provocations, and they are very skilled at doing this. Their most powerful tool is the erasure of context, rewriting history to ensure the authorities to whom they eventually appeal—whether legal, corporate, or moral—treat the moment their target retaliated as the start of the story. Sara Luterman’s and friends’ appeals to Tumblr are a perfect case study. This is what “unwilling to examine the history that caused that one person to be pretty damned pissed off and aggressive” means, in point 2, above. That history is not difficult to find: here it is again, linked.

Let me be blunt about this:

  • “Being an abuser” does not make you “only an abuser and nothing else.” It makes you a person who has done an abusive thing. You are not the worst thing you have done.
  • “Being a survivor” does not make you incapable of doing abusive things. If you are a survivor you are still capable of doing abusive things, and you probably have. That is what “the cycle of abuse” means.
  • These two characteristics are not mutually exclusive. If you are unwilling to face your own abusiveness, chances are more likely, not less, that you are going to abuse someone else. Likewise, if you are unwilling to face your own traumas, chances are you are more likely, not less, to do abusive things, possibly including to yourself.

People who understand those three simple points will note how I have never once judged myself fit to audit Sara Luterman’s experiences by claiming that they are not a “real” survivor, a claim they have been making about me for a long, long, long time. And yet I have also never quarreled with people when they try to describe me as a person who has done some pretty vicious, “abusive” things. I simply have no reason to disagree with them, because much of what they say is true but purposefully stripped of its context, namely the years upon years of victim-blaming and harassment, bullying and abuse, gaslighting and attempted social isolation that others have written about more eloquently than I have.

The question of what to do in the face of such deliberate and consistent provocation is indeed a tricky one. It is a question I have pointedly asked Luterman’s friends and defenders and other anti-rolequeer so-called “anti-violence” pacifists, albeit pacifist in name only.

I am still waiting for their answer. I suspect I am still waiting because they do not actually have one. I won’t be holding my breath.

Meanwhile, I think idlnmclean continues to make succinct points here:

I will end with the observation that what you [anti-rolequeer and other disgruntled binarists] are actually engaging in in your series of posts is the disemination of misinformation and the literal demonization of a community of people who operate in fundamentally alien ways to your own. You might want to think about how that is “exclusive to abusers”.

Hm. Where and who among us in the LGBTQIAPK-acronym-soup community have we seen that “misinformation and literal demonization of a community of people who operate in fundamentally alien ways to your own” before? Hmmm….