emphasis on privacy
Mattilda really gets me going, and since I've got the intersection of queer/trans studies and disability studies on my mind I'm thinking of the ways in which the rift between these two activist camps hinges upon claims to normalcy and assimilation. When queer/trans and (dis)abled are set up as mutually exclusive categories, what happens?
Well, queer/trans people can't live with (dis)abilities and people with different ability sets can't be queer. That's too complex. That ruins any claims to assimilation within dominant norms. If you transgress these norms in more than one way, you're pretty fucked. And on the other hand, if you transgress these norms in more than one way you find yourself in a position to criticize the exclusionary moves of "both sides."
What emerges from all of this, for me, is something that we're always meaning to get to in class: what does all of this assimilationist rhetoric mean for BDSM and kink. It would seem that once again we're dealing with shame, and what to do with it when we work to normalize experiences by disassociating shame with our bodies.
It works like this: queer folks and folks with different ability sets are just as able to contribute to society as everyone else, and to prove this possibility, let us just say that our sex is totally vanilla. We're not like weird kinky folks: those folks are straight and have no visible disabilities. Those are just the weirdos of society. We really just want to be like the rest of the heteronormative, ableist world of capitalism and greed and to hell with shame! Let those other non-normative folks feel it! Fuck kink! There's no legitimacy about those desires and expressions because they aren't enough like the norm-- but please still expand the norm to include me, thank you.
So why do we have to push the shame somewhere else in order to grapple with our own experience? Must empowering myself inevitably involve shaming someone(s) else?
I've been struggling with these questions since first looking at Warner's "The Trouble With Normal" as well as Mattilda's work and I've got to say, it's not getting much better. As much as I like to "stay positive" and look at pleasure and desire, I find myself time and again returning to shame and especially where it figures into assimilationist activism.
Why does my normalcy (and why do I want to be "normal" in the first place) have to rely on calling someone else out for being "more/most deviant"? What does this say about how we construct our world with oppositions, the middles of which shall never touch or meet?
Queer, (dis)ability, and kink are totally holding hands and making out-- so why is this a set-back for some and a celebration for others?