Shortcomings of LGB Homogenization

[cw: use/discussion of “sga” as a term, which for some is experienced as a slur]

Here’s something I haven’t seen addressed yet about lgb homogenization, by which I mean defining “heterosexism” as “homophobia” and defining “homophobia,” in turn, as related strictly to punishment of what’s termed “sga,” as reclaimed by some lgb folk.

This homogenization premise — that all silencing, abuse, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation is specifically about a presence of attraction to people of the same gender as the self (homogenizers regularly shorten this to “sga”) — has this dubious major implication: that the oppression of gay, lesbian, and bi/pan people (should, hypothetically) all function exactly the same way.  That is, the things they’re punished for, as lgb people, is a list that begins and ends with so-called “sga.”

I’ve already seen bi people taking issue with that idea, right or wrong, but what I haven’t seen contested or addressed is how this premise denies certain elements of the social reality for gay folks.

That is, for example — homogenization contends that lesbians as a class aren’t punished for anything that bi women as a class are not also punished for.

What strikes me about this, most of all, is that romantic/sexual rejection of men-as-a-class — something associated with lesbians & sometimes used as half the definition of a lesbian — would not, then, be part of the definition of homophobia.  According to homogenization, any “non-sga” elements of an orientation are politically irrelevant (that is, such attributes have no relationship to the term “oppression”).

So… if you were someone beginning from a lbg homoginization premise, would you rather:

  1. argue that [violence targeting people who lack cross-gender attraction or desire] doesn’t happen?
  2. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but is not part of any axis of oppression?
  3. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen and is oppressive, but is attributable to a different axis of oppression (ex. misogyny and racism, not heterosexism)?
  4. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but only to gay people who have already come out as gay?
  5. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but is attributable to “misdirected homophobia” (even when the targets in question are themselves gay)?

Any other possibilities that haven’t occurred to me here?

Which do you think would be easiest to make a case for?

8 responses to “Shortcomings of LGB Homogenization

  • Elizabeth

    I wouldn’t argue for any, since they’re all bad arguments, but the one I see people choose most often is #3 (with “just misogyny” being the preferred alternative axis of oppression). Which runs into the problem of, how can you expect people to separate womanhood from sexuality from race? In terms of discrimination and violence, you can’t know which factor was greater and ALL contribute to it. Even if it was only motivated by one, there’s no way to tell and the way you experience it will be different depending on each of those factors, because they impact the support you’ll be able to get for processing it.

    • Coyote

      Lol yeah they’re all bad arguments, but I expect anyone reading this blog to know that. “Misogyny” seems like an easy one for some cases, but then… what about gay men? Do they just get a free pass from this?

      Anyway yeah at this point I expect anyone embroiled in this kind of thing to express a deliberate rejection of intersectionality theory.

      • Elizabeth

        Mostly I only see it from people talking about sexual violence, to women who have experienced it. Not a whole lot of discussion about gay men there, so I dunno. I doubt it even crosses their minds.

      • Siggy

        Prototypical narratives of gay kids getting bullied are usually based on gender-nonconformity. Which could fit under misogyny. Not that it’s a good idea to look at it through *only* that lens.

  • Vesper

    it really is ridiculous how those who argue that acceptance into the LGBTQIA community be based on SGA (more specifically, oppression from homophobia) with trans and non-binary people tacked on as a footnote, not least because (as you’ve more or less said) even the people arguing this (ie. mostly LG people) experience intersections which tie into their experience with homophobia and experiencing SGA.

    honestly, i feel like it’s not even so much a rejection of intersectionality as a rejection of anything that they consider to not be homophobia. “homophobia” is the keyword, regardless of whether it’s intersectional or not. if you have experience with “actual” homophobia (not the “misdirected” kind), that automatically labels you as SGA to them and that’s your ticket into the community. a black lesbian can talk about how being black and a woman influences the homophobia she experiences and be praised, but when a black bisexual woman talks of how being black and a woman influences the biphobia she experiences, the question most often asked by LG people is “–yeah, but you were with a woman, right? so it’s homophobia! welcome to the club.”

    because, you know, biphobia isn’t actually a thing. it’s really just homophobia or “misdirected homophobia” because you’re really just straight.

    intersectionality of race, gender, class, etc is ignored until you say the magic word “homophobia,” then the rest of what you said will be acknowledged, including how a lesbian’s experience with homophobia is not the same as a gay man’s because hers is intrinsically linked to misogyny. i haven’t seen anyone denying that and i don’t think anyone would, so long as the keyword “homophobia” is in play.

    tl;dr: most people i see aren’t arguing that racism, misogyny, sexism, etc don’t happen. they acknowledge that it does happen and it is oppression, just that it’s irrelevant to whether one belongs in the LGBTQIA community or not. (so #3 on your list?) the requirement of SGA allows (LG) people to center homophobia as the keyword to listen for and justifies everything else going in one ear and out the other.

    because, you know, the LGBTQIA community was formed specifically to fight homophobia! (/・ω・)/☆.。.:*・゚

  • On “A-” Homogenization | The Ace Theist

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