This morning we have had an important conversation about the name of our project, but it only stemmed from our thoughts about the title and from there opened up into a discussion about our human rights as LGBTQ+ people, the power dynamic that withholds them from us and how to go about dismantling it.
There were disagreements within even our small group about how to approach this.
The argument was made that in order to bring those who are against us around to bring with us we must be careful not to offend or drive them away from our cause, and that we should be, instead, concentrating on ‘luring’ them in.
This approach does not sit well with me personally. I can see where it’s coming from, and admittedly, I perhaps embody this on a day to day basis – for various reasons – e.g., cheating myself, censoring myself, being careful to ensure that I am coming across as approachable and likeable rather than portraying the ‘hysterical woman’ or ‘radical feminist’ approach. I do these things, for the most part, to keep myself safe. However, I feel strongly that this project is bigger that each of us as individuals. I feel a duty and a responsibility not to shy away from inequality when portraying LBGTQ+ people in the North of Ireland, and I feel that worrying about alienating bigots should not be a concern for us – we should not be tiptoeing around them.
Comparisons were made to racial inequality and how it would be unthinkable to even entertain the idea of pandering to neo-Nazis if a similar project was being made in order to highlight inequalities between white people and people of colour. I think it is all too easy for people who face discrimination and prejudice in the North of Ireland to simply accept it rather than challenge it – and the reasons for this are historically complex. We have learnt to normalise unacceptable behaviour towards us, on various levels, including personal and political, and we have become desensitised to it.