I train a lot, like a lot a lot, during the course of an academic year. Safe Zone trainings, language trainings, historical trainings, and conversations about social justice just to name a few. The majority of the people that I train are adult folk over 35 who have some “interest” in the Queer community and its inner workings. The majority of these people are non-Queer and Trans folks. Within the last year or so I have been questioning more and more the validity of these trainings and their purpose for Queer/Trans folks who are in theory benefiting from them. The more I sit in rooms with people who have some passing interest in who and what we are I have to wonder if I am doing the right thing.
Do we really benefit as a community by taking the time out of our busy and often at risk lives to convince str8 people that we are worth supporting? I am just not sure anymore. The radical in me feels like we might be better off taking that energy and putting it into training our own community. Teaching each other about the complexities of our own identities, teaching each other how to be activists and advocates for ourselves. I for one would like to spend more time teaching younger Queer folks about how to organize, to work in communities that reject hierarchy, and how to take their anger and make it into change.
Ultimately I think we have gotten too much into the habit of taking our “individual stories” and making them into universal examples of how the community works. I think that it might be time to let str8 folks educate each other, and Queer/Trans folks need to get back to the business of making our own communities stronger. That feels very much like my responsibility.