A Queer Commentary on Consent
TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with the topic of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.
As a queer man, I want to speak for myself and engage other queer persons, especially queer men with two points of thought on consent.
First, consider the violence we do to our female friends’ bodies. Consider how we shame them, commodify them, and degrade them. I’m not judging you for a casual “Hey B*tch” or “Gurl” here or there. I’m talking about touching them, groping them, without consent. Ladies with queer identified friends, how often have we (myself included) allowed ourselves to grab, prod, play with your bodies as if they are our playthings. These women are our friends and sisters and mothers and girlfriends and sometimes lovers.
Why is this so bad? We aren’t into it? We OBVIOUSLY like other hardware. No excuse, because our seuxal behavior may not require her body, we are not to reduce her to an accessory. Her body is already a place of subjugation, policing, and destruction. Her body exist in a patriarchy of oppression. How are we to show support by contributing to her violence? We are adding to a narrative that so many uninformed and horrible persons contribute to everyday. We inflict verbal violence through comments on dress, mood, sexual behavior, and diet. We inflict physical violence by our entitle access to their bodies. We treat them as every other heterosexist space treats them.
We need to see that their liberation is ours. Homophobia is sexism wearing a feather boa. Though the target is the female body, its the devaluing of femininity that is at the core of patriarchal discourse. Love, ask, engage their bodies with consent. If a girl doesn’t mind with you play with her breasticles, love her body in that way. But ask first, establish lines, and empower yourself and female friends with the space to control and navigate her body as SHE sees fit.
Second, sexual violence can happen to you, do not be silenced. There are so many burdens and stresses, most unspoken, with being queer and male. We also can quickly be forgotten in many histories and narratives of sexual violence. It happens to men, to gay men, straight men, trans* men, bi men, pan men, questioning men, queer men. Sexual violence happens and there is a place for you to share. You, too, can take back the night. You, too, can survive. You, too, can overcome. Find community and solace where you need. Find healing and family where you need. But remember it can happen to you.
The unfortunate moment when it does, take time to take care of yourself. The memory will be real. Triggers will be real. The lived experience will be real.
If possible, talk to your friends about it. If not consider the mental health services on your campus, but do not feel alone. We are conditioned to think it can’t happen to men. Sexual Violence is about power and degradation. It can happen to anyone. Sexual behavior does not limit who can and cannot be perpetrators of sexual violence.
Consider the queer engagement in consent. The way we treat our female formed friends, their bodies, their control. Consider the dynamics we engage with each other, feel supported in times of healing and support. Consent is real. Healing is real. Consciousness is real.