Here’s some info about me: I am a white, cis-gendered, bisexual woman. Like, so white, I don’t tan, I cosplay as a lobster. And so bisexual, I’ve dated both dudes and ladies. Being white and cis means there’s a lot of shit I don’t deal with — and don’t know how dealing with it feels. I was born in and am living in Germany, which means there’s a good 50 feet of crap I definitely am not dealing with on a daily basis. I came out in my twenties, and so far I have been very fortunate in knowing and working with open-minded people; and in having supportive parents and family.
But enough about me.
Rainbow Bookshelf is intersectional. It’s an ally to qpoc, to trans and non-binary folx, and to aces/aros. I don’t believe in excluding anyone from identifying as queer who’s not cis or straight or binary. That is why I’m writing this, to say that everyone is welcome; and to own up to my blind spots in advance.
Note: this blog uses the term queer. (It’s literally in the tagline.) If anyone would like me not to use it to refer to them (or a creator, if their preference is known), please let me know and I’ll make sure to use the term you/they prefer in direct conversation.
Also: if I ever get pronouns wrong, just tell me. It’s certainly never on purpose, it’s me being hare-brained.
To me, fostering a space that works for all of us hinges upon recognizing our common ground before our differences. Differences are good — none of us are the same; but equally are none of us an island. We are here, we are ourselves. This unites us, hopefully. But then, same as I would tell a cishet man not to presume to know what it feels like to be a woman*, or a straight woman to be bi, I would not presume to know what it feels like to be Trans, Non-Binary, or Black, or Asian, or Latinx. I can’t know. I can empathize with your struggles, I can lend a hand, I can lend my voice by amplifying yours. I can educate myself about harmful tropes, stereotypes, and systemic issues.
I think the least we can all do for each other is relate. If we can ship dragons, we can show compassion for real people.
When talking about differences, of course there’s also one dimension that is intrinsically linked to us as a community, to our bodies, and to the art we make: politics. Everything is political, and not just “these days.” It always has been.
I think the “I don’t know how to explain to you how to give a shit about other people” tweet sums it up pretty well: we gotta give a shit. And in politics, there’s only so much difference I can take.
I’m not about to ‘agree to disagree’ with someone on whether people who are different from me deserve basic human rights and civil rights protection.
Rules of Engagement
The Rules pertain as much to my own work on this blog as to everyone else’s in the comments.
Queer people, people of colour, trans and non-binary people, ace people are not responsible for educating others. I have no trouble admitting when I’m ignorant of something, when I’m not sure whether something I’ve read is shady; and if that is the case in a review then I will say so, and in writing it I’ll do my own research.
No-one needs to spend their time answering questions asked in bad faith.
In no particular order:
If there is sealioning in the comment section, that person will be banned. If there is TERF rhetoric in the comment section, that person will be banned. If there is racism or xenophobia in the comment section, that person will be banned. If there is sexism in the comment section, that person will be banned. Hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated. I’m queer, and I’m always salty.
If you want to ask about something because you were previously unaware, just say so. Frame your questions, give them context. It takes less than a minute, but it saves so much upset. Sometimes when someone repeats something they’ve heard, they don’t know that it’s a dogwhistle. Check your blind spots; we all have them.
Progress comes through rage. Freedom comes through anger. We can’t always restrain that anger — and I believe we shouldn’t. It’s ok for a discussion to get heated. I won’t police tone (aside from name-calling and general internet etiquette); what I might do is ask everyone to step away for a moment, make a cup of tea, and come back with a little patience, if they can muster it.
If your default is anger (and all caps for emphasis), please consider that this will be exhausting to others, no matter how much they agree with you. If your default is sarcasm, please consider that others may have trouble understanding it, especially in writing.
Please, be kind to each other.