The LGBTQ+ community is unequivocally vibrant and diverse. An unfortunate reality is that with this diversity comes a system of social stratification with multiple factors determining the level of privilege one possesses. So as a white, gay, cisgender man from a middle-class background, I sit at the top of this stratified pyramid alongside many other men who share this same social identity. And of course, many white, gay, cis-men face a set of challenges that come with navigating their way through a heteronormative and homophobic society, but the fact of the matter is that my experiences are drastically different from more intersectional identities who may find themselves on the other end of this system of queer stratification. And often, the view from the top is an extremely limited perspective. Privilege shapes the lens through which we understand society.
I joined Arthur well aware of my privilege in hopes to use my platform to shed light on the experiences of marginalized communities. I saw myself writing articles on queer issues and I have written a couple pieces that satisfy that description. But I have also consciously and continually sought out stories completely unrelated to the queer community for the sole reason that I do not want to be the only queer person writing queer stories for Arthur newspaper. Because as a white, gay, cis-man there is a fundamental problem with me being the sole queer writer writing about queer issues. I simply cannot even attempt to represent a community with so much variation amongst its members.
This microcosmic introspection of mine is indicative of a more serious issue in the Western LGBTQ+ movement — that is, a glaring lack of representation of intersectional identities, identities whose voices and actions are at the foundation of every LGBTQ+ movement. It’s been a controversial issue at Pride Toronto in recent years; we see it on our movie/television screens; and I see it in the newspaper I work for. It’s pervasive and it needs to change so that the movement actually represents the community it claims to fight for.
I write this to encourage the many incredible and intersectional queer voices at Trent to get involved in Arthur. Many people don’t know that anyone who pays their levy fee can contribute, so long as they meet editorial standards. Arthur is best when the voices it encompasses are diverse. And I know many in the queer community don’t want to publicize or politicize their identities; many will argue that it is not our responsibility to educate non-queer people on LGBTQ+ issues. I completely understand these sentiments.
At times in can be uncomfortable and exhausting and I say this from a privileged perspective so I cannot speak to the struggles others may face. But if you are willing and able, please do. I appeal to the queer community at Trent to let your valuable, powerful, beautifully queer voices be heard. Tell us your stories. Write for Arthur.
If you feel moved to write for Arthur, please contact the editors at [email protected] for further information. We also invite you to follow us on our social media accounts for updates on events and community discussion.