The Ally of My Ally Should Be My Ally

 Posted by on November 19, 2012
Nov 192012

istock_000009311779small2-300x171-6720782One of the things that each marginalized community needs to work on learning is that we must support our allies in other communities, in order to ask them to support us.

As a member of several marginalized communities, as well as a staunch ally to others, it so saddens me when I see the division we sometimes intentionally create, and the chasms that are sometimes developed through ignorance, or lack of intentional partnership.

Immigration is something that has a huge effect on some members of the LGBTQ community, particularly those members that may have undocumented family members, or who may be partnered with someone undocumented, and have no legal recourse to legalize their relationship or provide citizenship to their loved one. However, many individuals and organizations in the LGBTQ community hesitate to partner with immigration organizations, or even to speak out against the unfairness and vitriol often spoken in regards to this community, perhaps in fear that they would be associated with them, or that they might alienate potential allies of the LGBTQ community. This choice throws LGBTQ members of the undocumented (and even documented) immigrant community under the bus, ignores intersections of identity, and says that the LGBTQ community views itself as completely separate from, and in some cases, a better than communities that work around immigration.

Same thing goes for the kink community, and how this community interacts with sex workers. The dungeons in many cities shun those known to be sex workers, particularly those who are pro-dommes. Now, of course, dungeons are free to have rules around the exchange of money for play, or for sex, and that is something that may have legal repercussions for them. However, when the kink community’s mentality becomes that those who do domination professionally, for money, are not as “true” for kinksters as those who pay to attend events, that is epic discrimination against another community, and frequently, against our own. In the community I play in, the best known local pro-house donates time, space, energy and even money to local groups, non-profits, and more. They are the place that hosts the regular queer kinky play party, they are the space that hosts the regular FemDom party, and their owner/Headmistress serves on the board of the local organization that helps kink and leather folks in need. How dare any community tell people like this that they are not “really” kinky, solely because on form of their income is sex work? Would you tell a midwife that she’s not really a feminist because she accepts money for the work she does? Or a writer that he isn’t actually passionate about writing, because he uses the money he makes writing to pay for our bills.

Our marginalized and disenfranchised communities have a multitude of intersectional identities. Some pro-choice activists need to work on being less ableist. Poly groups sometimes need to work on being less classist. Almost every community on this freaking planet needs to work on being less racist as a group. We ask others to believe in our cause, to help the world view us as caring, compassionate and sometimes even “normal” human beings, but how can we ask the world to do that, when we don’t even support other communities who are just asking for the same?