One of the more common things that I get accused of when writing online (at least when I write things other than erotica xD) is being “obsessed with identity politics”. Putting aside whether or not this is true (probably at least partly xD), I think it’s worth looking at why this is considered a bad thing. In the past I have certainly tried to avoid this label, and even felt ashamed when I was accused of it.
Identity politics refers to the tendency for people who share a particular characteristic or group of characteristic (e.g. race, gender, sexuality) to group together and campaign about issues that affect them.
What it doesn’t mean:
- This is all I am. Talking about labels doesn’t mean I’m defined by them. It means I use them as a framework to help me think about who I am, and how being trans/pan/kinky/poly/fat shapes the way the world will treat me.
- I automatically like people who share these identities. There are plenty of trans people who I personally dislike. There are definitely toxic elements within the feminist community (cough Germaine Greer cough).
- We’re plotting to destroy everyone who isn’t like us. The trans communities I engage with are focussed on supporting each other, sharing experiences, and dealing with transphobia. Feminists are generally focussed on making the lives of women better, not attacking men. Generally speaking the groups that feel the need to engage in identity politics are too busy dealing with bullshit aimed at them to persecute straight, white, cis-men.
Some of them greatest social advances in the last few centuries have happened because of identity politics, by people who would now be called social justice warriors. A few examples include
- The US Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The (limited) decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK
- Universal sufferage in the UK (giving women the vote)
So before you use this as an insult, or feel guilty for being an identity politics SJW, ask why this is such a bad thing. It can certainly be annoying or uncomfortable to be confronted with your privilege, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing for someone to do. I’m done with being ashamed of being loud, I’m fed up of being criticised for talking about my experiences. Fuck the haters, I’m proud of my identity politics.
I welcome discussion and sharing of alternatives views in the comments, but please keep it respectful.