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16 June 2011, 9:00 am 2 Comments

The Adventures of the Boi Wonder: Those Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

This post was submitted by Levi

c. Scott Flaherty, Wikimedia Commons

“I’ll hide behind a smile and understanding eyes
And I’ll tell you things that you already know so you can say:
I really identify with you, so much
And all the time that you’re needing me is just the time
That I’m bleeding you, don’t you get it yet?
I’ll come to you like an affliction then I’ll leave you like an addiction
You’ll never forget me… you wanna know why? “

–“Liar” by the Rollins Band

 

Those who hurt us the most are almost always the ones who manage to worm themselves most deeply into our lives and struggles.

As someone who is quite new (and young in terms of age) to the queer and trans communities, one of the main pieces of advice I get from friends is that I really need to watch my back.  But when they say that, they aren’t just talking about the homophobes, transphobes, and hometown bigots, those threats are well-known.  No, what they are really trying to warn me about are the people WITHIN the community who prey upon others.

It is unfortunate, but it is a common thing in every community, especially in communities that are maligned by the “mainstream.” I have heard multiple cases of people in the queer community being taken advantage of by other queers.  These have been things such as finances being taken by a partner, being pressured into drugs or unsafe sexual practices, and physical and emotional abuse. I can think of a few people who are getting decked if they ever cross my path for such crimes against my friends. Since our identities and relationships tend not to be recognized by the legal authorities, so there usually is no legal intervention or solution taken.  Most often, the predators get away and continue with their misdeeds.

One of the most complex and well-known cases of this is the controversy surrounding trans photographer Kael T. Block.   He is very notorious in the trans community both for his stunning photographs of trans men and for the multiple accusations of rape against him.  Since no court case or the like has happened yet, the queer/trans community has been using online social media (blogspot, Facebook, and especially tumblr) to discuss the case.  Since opinions are sharply divided, there have been writings defending Kael or separating the art from the artist and those warning others/calling for boycotts of his work.  (I shall refrain from putting in my personal opinion on this matter, because I don’t feel it is my place to comment).

Essentially, the community to which the party(s) belongs to has to decide how to handle these situations.  However, there is a fine line between tribal justice and vigilantism.  How do we make sure to distinguish between the two but still protect others?  Is it our place to ensure justice?  The most common action is to just warn the newcomers (such as myself), but we all know that warnings often go unheard or the danger proves too charming.  Plus, if you’re an inexperienced, insecure, lonely person (such as myself), then there’s a chance that you’ll submit to anyone who will show you attention and a compliment.  To be honest, it is something that I worry about a lot.

Every community has a few bad apples.  There are always wolves that hide in sheep’s clothing, there are always predators.  We expect better and like to think that our members aren’t capable of harming others who share our outsider status…But the sad thing is that you never have to go very far to hear that is not true.  Be careful, friends.


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2 Comments »

  • Doctor Whom said:

    We don’t just need to be careful of the wolves; we also need to avoid being their unwitting enablers. For example, about the last thing a person in an abusive relationship needs to hear is the incessant politically correct refrain that being in a relationship, no matter what, should be one’s top priority.

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