By Shanna Katz
Perhaps when growing up, you heard the little ditty about assumptions; don’t assume, because it makes an A-S-S out of U and M-E. If not, you just did.
I get increasingly frustrated about the plethora of assumptions that are made in our communities. That person presents as a woman; she must be submissive. That person presents in a trans-masculine way; they must be a trans guy waiting to transition. That person isn’t wearing a collar; they must be up for grabs. That person is wearing a collar; I cannot address them and must find their owner. That person is in a wheelchair; they must not be sexual. It happens all the time, and like many people, it drives me crazy (even though I am sure that I too am guilty of assumptions as well).
However, the assumptions I talk about now are those regarding allies or lack of allies. The other day, Furry Girl pointed out on twitter that just because someone identifies as a conservative, it doesn’t mean that they might now support something you believe in (in her particular case, she was referring to legalizing sex work). Many conservatives (including some conservative sex workers) absolutely believe in supporting and/or legalizing sex work. Their being conservative does not automatically discount them from supporting such a thing. In the same vein, I personally know pro-choice conservatives, pro-same-sex marriage conservatives, anti DADT conservatives and more. Just because someone believes in some tenets of a political view point does not mean that believe in all of them. Hello, log cabin republicans anyone?
The same is true for the other side of the coin. I know I have often been guilty of assuming that because a person is one type of sexual minority, that they will support others. Lots of kinky folks are anti-LGBTQ rights, and even some lesbian/gay people aren’t supportive of the trans community. There are poly groups that aggressively separate themselves out from the kink community because they find it offensive, and queer folks that speak out against and/or want nothing to do with poly/kink folks. Just because someone identifies as liberal or sexual minority doesn’t mean that they believe in all the same things you do.
So let’s stop painting people with one large brush. It’s ok to be against conservative politics, but don’t discount someone as an ally just because they are self-identified as conservative. In the same vein, just because someone is identifying as liberal, or part of a sexual minority community that you are a part of, don’t assume that they are going to go along with/support all of your beliefs. It is issues like this that lend support to the concept of communication – why don’t we ask folks their beliefs, their ideals, their ethics, their moral, and figure out where they are, rather than assuming and putting them in some big box. Wouldn’t it be nice if people took the time to figure out who we really are, rather than just lumping us together because it might be easier?