Cis white men in safe spaces

Submitted by evilsjw in Queer

As a white cis-gendered man I'm about as privileged as it gets. To be in my safe space I can... just go outside. However, in the last couple of months I've realised more and more that I feel really really comfortable in safe spaces (both physical as well as digital). In my area even in traditionally leftist spaces there's a lot of hypermasculinity and prejudice when it comes to mental health issues for example. In safe spaces a lot of the times people share my views concerning things like mental health, body normativity, politics, acceptance of emotionality and just positivity in general.

While I've never had a negative experience in a safe space I know that the question of including people like me is somewhat controversial. Obviously I don't want anyone to feel like I'm taking these spaces away from them.

I'd love to know from queer people specifically how you feel about this.

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Pop wrote

If you are invited you are invited, then take amongstclouds's approach

if you are not invited then you are not invited, and take GaldraChevaliere's approach

It's a bit unclear what you mean by a safe space; whether you mean just that there are certain conventions in place to make relations less hierarchical, or whether you mean that it is safe in that it is exclusionary

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[deleted] wrote

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evilsjw OP wrote

That's a good point. Thanks for your insight!

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GaldraChevaliere wrote

You should stay out, especially of trans womens' spaces. Respect for others is respecting when they don't want you to be there, for a variety of systemic reasons and especially because of traumas associated with the overclass. I don't even want trans men in spaces I'm in, because of their tendency to dominate those spaces and exploit trans women within them. It isn't because you, yourself, are a bad person. Plenty of cis men are very nice people who are honorable and have no ill will towards women. It doesn't change that you wield power unconsciously or otherwise over us, and that your presence will negatively impact people there. If you want to contribute to safe spaces, you should do it through material support. Donate supplies to projects without strings attached, help pitch into a communal fund for HRT/GRS for members of the space that can't otherwise access it. Work on making the spaces you're already in less dudebroey and more accessible to women, LGBT folk and people of color and challenge your mates when they do something shitty instead of overlooking it.

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evilsjw OP wrote

I never really thought about that aspect you mention concerning the power a person can unconsciously wield over others. It's good to be aware of that. Appreciate your insight!

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celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

I think that it really depends on the people you're trying to share space with, and what they want. You should be aware that your privilege will warp peoples' ability to be straight up with you when they don't want you occupying space. You should do your best to cultivate your powers of social perception if you are going to walk this line.

However, in most of the places I inhabit, I feel more comfortable with my comrades, regardless of their personal positionality or heritage/background. Just because someone is trans, queer, a femme/woman, disabled, racially marginalized, an immigrant, or any other category does not really infer anything about them as a person: whether they are kind, generous, respectful, sharing the same concerns & interests as the rest of us, etc. I try to make judgements about who I exercise my freedom of association with based on those qualities, and the behaviors that stem from these personal traits, rather than making judgements which are based on my estimation of their relative privilege.

One reason I do this is because of my experience of queerness, and that of people I know. By definition, it takes time for people to grow into who they really are. What I think defines a person are their choices, which cannot be retroactively changed, but are also continually immanent. My perspective on this is that I don't believe in a secular predestination, I would prefer to be hurt/disappointed taking the chance on someone (to a certain extent) than to feel I am writing people off who don't deserve it (to a certain extent).

However, there are a lot of people who avoid cis white men for many completely legitimate reasons. I'm not sure how many people share my perspective.

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theheart wrote

I'll be blunt; I'd be pretty pissed if you showed up uninvited, unless you were questioning or something similar. I go to these spaces to have shared experiences and common ground with people like me, after dealing with cis white men all day every day. I think its best that one crafts other spaces to be better than to dilute spaces with a specific intent.

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