Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do you have to be a certain percentage of the population before injustices against you matter?

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

It seems like the US is going through the same kafuffle that happened in the UK not too long ago, debating exactly how many GBLT people there actually are in the world along with recriminations, debates and lots of "there's hardly any of you!" protests.

As I said, the UK had the same debate not long ago and my eyes are still sore from the friction burns from all the rolling back then.

There are many things we can talk about when it comes to such surveys. We can point out how their methodology fails (the UK version so undercounted us that every GBLT person in the country would have had to have 3 active gaydar profiles each just to account for the number of profiles on that popular gay dating site)

We could point out how any attempt to count a population that still hides in such large numbers and in so many circumstances is always going to be fraught with difficulties and, as such, any such numbers should be questioned.

We could talk about how so many people identify with different labels that makes such questioning awkward at best.

But I'm not going to do any of that. No, because I'm going to have me a rant *cracks knuckles*

Whenever we get these surveys come out, the haters queue up to scream "see, there's only a few of them," as if we've somehow been inflating our numbers or deliberately deceiving them.

And my answer is - so what?

Really, does it matter if we make up 10% of the population, 6%, 3%, 1.5% or only 0.5%? Does it mean our struggle for equality is less valid, less important?

Do you have to be a certain percentage of the population before injustices against you matter? Per the last census, there are several ethnic, racial and religious groups that don't have the same numbers as even the ONS' ridiculous undercounting in the UK - it's ludicrous and inconceivable to decide that a minority is not due justice because they are not numerous enough.

I am beyond tired of feeling like we have to justify our struggle. It is beyond irritating to constantly have people dismiss the marginalisation of GBLT people or to consider it a lesser or less important . It is beyond frustrating that when people think "privilege" that being straight and cis is usually not what they're thinking - or that such privileges are less important or less powerful or less privileged.

Homophobia and transphobia are wrong. Discrimination against GBLT people is wrong. Treating us as lesser people is severely wrong and severely common. Our society has pervasive straight privilege in every last aspect of it, in every last corner of it. The Straight land of Hetlandia continues to make our lives difficult and Straightness continues to oppress us.

And all of this is still the case where we make up 30% of the population or 0.3% of it.

Now are these surveys interesting? Well, not to me, because I think they are just so obscenely inaccurate and there's no real way to fix it, but I imagine they are to some. But making a big brouhaha about them and trying to relate that to our push for equality? Yeah, my eyes are rolling again. Justice is owed, whether it's owed to hundreds of millions of people, or just a few dozen. It's still wrong and it still needs correcting.