Here are some random thoughts in the wake of the recent global and personal events around sexual violence. These are a few questions that came up on my walk with the Wonder Dog today:What is my responsibility as a white female bodied masculine person to gendered violence? How is my desire entangled with the White male gaze? How do I not reproduce the white male gaze when my body is read as both white and male? I am not sure I can answer these question, I am sure that the intersections of White, Queer, Masculine, Desire & Violence weave in and out of my daily life in relation to the social and political context my body becomes visible in. I have been read as male almost my whole life, I was gay bashed in Seattle in 1984 because folks thought I was a faggot, I have had security called more than I can count in the public restroom of North America, Women and girls have gone screaming out of same said restroom, I think Sir is my first name most days, even when I am not sporting a goatee, I am for the most part visible invisible, except I look like the average White man or Queer White man from my outer appearance. I both benefit and have felt the violence of gender non-conformity.
Is it ever possible to not be viewed outside the representation of white masculinity? If so, how do those of you that fall into that representation do it? How do you intervene on the White Male Gaze? These question are for Men, Transmen, and Butches, gender non-conforming and Masculine of Center folks and any other self-identified White Masculine folks. I want to open up a discussion, explore, discuses, unlearn, teach and grow in our understanding and responsibility. In my ever changing and unlearning process I have had the experience that has been the most painful acknowledgement is that my heart and intention is not what people see first, that I had to own that my whiteness and masculinity are seen in the same moment and my queerness is often missed until I make it a point (cloths, outing myself, etc). I have Id as a butch my whole adult life and because I saw myself as white, female and butch I never realized how often I was read as white and male. When I teach on whiteness I use a few examples of how this occurs, I would love to hear about others. Example #1, When I am riding my Motorcycle down the street (not in Pride parade) I am seen as a white biker dude, ex #2, when I am driving my truck (this has happened everywhere I have lived) the working women cruise me, I am still me, but I am read as a White male, this was of course at first very hard to except. Why, I was a queer feminist, I was marginalized, endured violence and I believed in the White supremacy of a universal history and since I benefited from my whiteness and masculinity it is often hard for me to recognize my white privilege.That does not mean I do not suffer from the fact that as a queer and gender non-conforming bodied person violence and bias come my way, it does.
Anyway, back to the questions, How do you as a white masculine person deal with desire? How long do you look at a women that catches your eye? If the women is a Women of Color do you avoid looking as not to participate in the white male gaze? As a feminist who believes the women in my life and understands the historical groundwork of race,class and gender, When do I say hello, when do I advert my eyes? Whiteness protects itself by supporting that if the OTHER is seen outside of the context whiteness allows it is always suspect (other here is both racial and queer) , do I say hello? Is that Hello seen as A. friendly, B.white speak to gauge why you might be in neighborhood, C. the privilege of whiteness to make visible what it wants? Complicated yes, these are questions I asks myself, I struggle with, and want to answer. Desire is spirit given, racism,sexism, classism and heteromormativity are constructions that intersect in all of our lives. My goal in all of this is to help heal not divide, to see what I still can not see, accept what is true, and move towards forgiveness for myself and others.