Policing Our Communities

 Posted by on February 7, 2011
Feb 072011

By Shanna Katz

I love being queer, and most of the time, I love the queer community. However, I don’t like the policing that often goes on inside the queer community, and I’m now seeing similar policing happening in the kink community, and I’m sorry, but I think it is poppy cock!

Since when was bisexuality not welcome under the umbrella of queerness? How can we judge people for being true to their orientation and their attractions when that is exactly what were are not wanting ourselves to be judge on? And how about how much of the queer community treats queer women who end up in relationships/marriages with cisgender men? Suddenly, members of the queer community act as though these women are no longer queer, have turned their backs on the community, or have become the enemy, simply by falling in love with someone the community deems “inappropriate.”

I see this happening in the kink community as well. Just like in the queer community where people are judged “queer enough” or not, the kink community sometimes sets guidelines for what makes you “kinky enough.” If you don’t play in public, if you’re not in a D/s or M/s relationship, if you don’t like giving/getting pain, if you’re not interested in protocol, etc, all of these things have been reasons for people to be deemed not “real” kinksters or “not kinky enough.”

What the heck is wrong with us? We are minority communities, ones that operate outside of the defaults of society. How dare we police within our own communities, making judgments on others as to whether WE think they are enough of anything. How can we call ourselves an open and accepting community when we tell people that they can’t be part of it because who they are/aren’t attracted to, or because their kinks don’t match our own?

As minority groups, we need to gain strength in numbers by being welcoming and supportive of all those who identify, rather than weaken our communities by putting up walls and random gates. Who are we to be gate keepers to those who seek to find solidarity? When we make such judgments, create such boundaries and divides, and tell those who want to join us that they aren’t enough, we then become as judgmental as those who judge us. As communities, we seek acceptance and understanding from the mainstream world, but how can we hope for such a thing when we ourselves fail to demonstrate these traits?

The queer community has enough room for lesbians, bisexuals, gays, queers, questioning people, intersex folk, transfolk, gender queer individuals, curious ones, picky people, femmes, butches, bois, grrls, dykes, fags, androgynous people, pansexuals, heteroflexibles, homoflexibles, and every other permutation of the concept of non-heterosexuality. The kink community has space for masters, mistresses, slaves, submissives, perverts, kinksters, sadists, masochists, mommies, daddies, littles, fetishists, babies, ponies, puppies, moose, butch hunters, ringmasters, dom(me)s, service folk, sluts, chastity lovers, voyeurs, exhibitionists, home players, public players and everyone else. The more that our communities can group, exhibit support for ALL of our members and sustain ourselves, the more we will be accepted in society, and the more power we will have to create change.

  3 Responses to “Policing Our Communities”

  1. Although I don’t normally like to repost my blog posts on other people’s work, I thought that it would be far easier for me to post a link to what I wrote about this topic nearly a year ago. Shanna, to me, you’re whistling dixie.



  2. I wanted to start by saying how much I support the intent and core behind ShannaKatz’s post on this topic. As a bisexual but het-leaning woman who spent time in the all girls (read lesbo) dorm in college, I completely identify with being sidelined as not queer enough by the gay community. The concern I have with this posting centers around the use of the word ‘policing’ our community. It is absolutely critical when having a discussion about social stigma and discrimination, that we call a spade a spade. For a bisexual to be ostracized for not being queer enough is discrimination. The author is absolutely right that when we pass judgment on someone because they are not butch enough or don’t play like we play, we become that which we have railed against. However, we can, and should, and dare I say *must* police our own communities. It may well be that the term policing our community has been used in recent times in ways that I have never encountered. If that is the case, then a secondary call to arms must be to reclaim and redirect the intent of the word policing or prevent its further deterioration.

    What do I mean by policing? Police are a structure in society to keep order and protect citizens from harm. And so we must police ourselves, but not against those who are more or less queer or more or less kinky. We can and should police our communities to prevent the presence of actual dangers. That conversation is probably one for an entirely different post and deserves its own day in the sun. In the meantime, I feel it is extremely important that we use accurate terminology to label inappropriate and self-defeating behaviors within the alternative community. If a supposedly open and welcoming group discriminates, call it that. If someone is harassed because they don’t play the way the group leader plays, the group leader should be called on their actions. Self policing can be a very healthy function of the kink community. I’d hate to see that term corrupted to substitute in place of the words discrimination and harassment, thus diluting the potency of the message about negative behavior ShannanKatz seeks to call into the light.

  3. Bravo! I sometimes feel so alienated from the queer community despite the fact that I do like and date women. My primary relationships are usually with cisgender, het (very occasionally bi) men so I’m seen as straight. I realize that there is definitely some straight privilege that comes from appearing straight, but I struggled with my sexuality and coming out too. And at bare minimum, this bisexual woman is an ally to the queer community.

    As for kink, I deplore that attitude too. “Kinky” means a million different things, and we need to accept that not everyone (or even most people!) do kink *exactly* like we do. There is no “one twue way.”