Great Expectations

Those of us who write online are a strange breed. We spend countless hours crafting words for an audience comprised primarily of strangers. For most of us, there is no money in it. We squeeze our writing into our time away from paying jobs or we take a chance and try to make a living at it and go without health insurance, reliable income and security. We do it to entertain. We do it to inform. We do it to see our own reality reflected back to us in some small way. Most of us are trying to recreate the world by making our lives and experiences visible, by creating the content that we have always longed to see. Each post, each article, each essay is an offering. Sometimes that offering is Coq Au Vin and sometimes it's a Lunchable but each is thoughtfully and lovingly prepared and we offer it with the hope that it will be received with the spirit of generosity. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Whether or not it is reasonable or just, queers hold queer writers and media to a higher standard than mainstream media with regard to diversity and representation. When you are struggling for visibility, you become an expert at recognizing exclusion - it becomes a superpower, the outsider's x-ray vision - and this incredible vision can be a gift or a tragic flaw depending upon the uses to which it is put. Across the internet, I have seen it used to attack others and question their intentions. I have seen it lead to snap judgements and erroneous assumptions and, sadly, I have seen it used by queers against other queer writers way too often. It is as if we feel entitled to harshly criticize our own community when there are certainly other targets that are more deserving of our ire. We are so good at critical thinking and can be so bad at giving the benefit of doubt to others. This blog post won't change that. It won't erase the hateful comments that are left on blogs and magazines online. It won't stop people from sniping at each other in 140 characters or less. That said, we can do better. We have to do better. We have to learn to get along and I am going to lay down what should become the golden rule for all of us navigating discourse in a virtual world:

If you feel entitled to make demands of queer writers with regard to issues of representation, then you also have a responsibility to work towards a positive solution in partnership with them.

Anything less is simply taking the easy way out.