Odd people

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Byron%27s_Dream.jpg/745px-Byron%27s_Dream.jpgJust as you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, or incite people to murder, so no-one should incite listeners against a minority group, as that is hate speech. What is the boundary of that principle? There are clear examples of it in Nazi propaganda against Jews, and Hutu calling Tutsis “Cockroaches”, saying we must fight against the oppressors and defend ourselves.

There is hate-speech like that about trans women. Saying we oppress anyone simply by being ourselves is such hate-speech. It declares us as enemies. Derision and disgust reduces our humanity and makes us an acceptable target.

How might we answer hate speech? We have some latitude, because it hurts and triggers us, though it helps to name it hate speech, so we can state why it is objectionable rather than just angrily object. The angry objection without the articulate justification loses sympathy.

Consider the radfem critique- “Trans women” are self-castrated men. This is not hate in itself, though it often goes with hate, but it has no real understanding. It is a hostile understanding from outside, like an Apartheid policeman’s understanding of black people, or an Israeli settler’s understanding of Palestinians.

Why would we castrate ourselves? Try to enter into this empathetically. Not because I am mentally ill, because my depression arises after the desire, not before, unless the desire is followed; nor even because I am a woman, because that is a matter of definition- I am a “woman” if your definition of woman includes gender identity, and not otherwise. I have no idea where that http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Romeo_and_juliet_brown.jpgdesire comes from, though it goes with “feminine” aspects of my personality. Because I want to. Because I wanted that more than anything else in the world.

It is kind to treat me as any other woman. It makes me happy.

Mmmm. I accept the utility of the scientific method. It is possible to make objective observations, then theorise, then predict, then check the prediction. I am fed, warm and dry right now because of the scientific method. And- this rational objectivity does not work in human relations, or at least I cannot make it work. I have tried.

How may we relate to each other?

People try to live by rational objectivity. Helen who commented here has a fixed and settled view on homosexuality. She needs that even though she may have no lesbian inclinations: in her church it is important that everyone believe the same things. They have one view of what it means to be human, and what is permissible. Enough of them must want that: if enough of them wanted greater diversity of opinion, they would have it, and the others would learn to live with it or leave.

Or, perhaps, the worship creates such a feeling of togetherness that the people are bound together in fellowship. Mmmm. Understand from inside. They are wrong about queers, and about Adam, but they have something valuable. What is it? And, where may we agree, what do I share with them?

6 thoughts on “Odd people

  1. Some people just need to believe in a narrower set of values to feel safe and secure. Just let them be. I know it’s annoying when they start pointing fingers at other broad-minded people, but since we are a little bit more open-minded than they are (as in we can respect their views, but hold our own “non-good-good” opinion at the same time), we just have to be more generous and courageous. 😉

    In a way, that makes you distinguish and cherish other broad-minded souls better (when you find them). Love you Clare! You are more than just a woman: you are a beautiful, open-minded, intelligent and sensitive woman. It’s lucky to have you as a friend (even if it’s only on cyberspace). 🙂

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  2. Coming out of that narrow mindset, I have found that I felt the need to be accepted by those in my church. To be a part of the community, I had to believe what they believe; act as they act. If not, I risked being on the outside; unloved. It is in fear that they must accept what they are taught and believe what they believe. Also there is fear that Jesus wont accept us with what we really believe (that which might be against doctrine). That is just my experience. I’m grateful to have been freed from those teachings….and no, they no longer accept me. It is worth the rejection to be able to love others freely.

    How do you deal with them? I don’t know. I’d say forgive their ignorance and love them anyway, but they make it so hard! 🙂

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