Today I’d like to talk a little about something that I don’t like to talk about at all: my ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Specifically, I’d like to talk about why I don’t talk about them.
There’s really no good way to say this, but I am more than my gender. I am more than my race. Sexual orientation is part of who I am, but it is not all of who I am. I have an ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation in real life, and I am comfortable with them. But they are incidental. They’re things that exist, not things that I particularly care about.
When I don’t talk about my EGS, what I’m trying to avoid is being boxed in and defined by things that I do not consider very important. “You’re just saying that because you’re Gay.” “You’re just saying that because you’re White.” “You wouldn’t think that if you were a Man.” If I say “I am a Gay White Woman,” then folks on all sides will line up to tell me what Gay White Women should think, do think, can only think. And that’s bullshit.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for people who speak up and talk about their EGS and how it affects them. Those are voices that we need to hear. We need gender studies, ethnic studies, gay studies, so on, and ad infinitum. Those are things I love to read about – but I don’t want to get shuffled off to an intellectual ghetto by revealing that information about myself.
It’s unfortunate, but revealing my EGS would almost certainly ghettoize my content. I would be expected to talk about “X issues” or to say that “as a X, I…” Mind, it could also potentially boost my site traffic – there are plenty of platforms actively looking for people like me as alternative voices. But I am more than the sum of my EGS.
There are exceptions, of course; issues where my EGS does influence my positions. Growing up as a multi-ethnic in the South greatly informs my position on what racism is and isn’t. It’s why I’m fascinated with the subject and why I’ve read so much White Supremacist literature. I know what it is like to literally be discriminated against for nothing more than the color of your skin.
I don’t talk about this as much, but I am also a Christian. This doesn’t do much to change my opinion on Hegel’s stages of history or video games, so I don’t bring it up much. Insisting that “such and such is the truth because God said so” doesn’t go very far as an argument unless you’re arguing with co-religionists. I’m a video game blogger who happens to be a Christian, not a Christian Video Game Blogger™.
But as much as I do not want to end up in the Christian blog ghetto, it is a much more important part of my identity than EGS. I will bring it up when it’s relevant, and will not when it is not.
That’s about it. I want people to consider my ideas, not my relative oppression level. I want to be free of my EGS, not defined by it. I’m interested in the discussion, not the exact demographic makeup of the discussers. No one has the right to speak for me, but me.
If you do talk about your EGS, good! I look forward to reading about it. But please, don’t expect me to do the same.