intersections and resiliences
I assume you’ve all seen some of the ‘It Gets Better’ videos that are being put online. Some of them are kind of amazing, some kind of disappointing: while oppressions are always interlinked, they’re also always specific, and some of the videos don’t recognise that as much as they could, I don’t think. Some also don’t recognise the various forms of privilege which exist, that each of us carry in different ways and which affects how we live. Plus there’s the added critique, which is proliferating at the moment, that reminds us that for most people, it doesn’t get better. As one woman says, “you get stronger”. On that Jasbir Puar has noted that the ‘It Gets Better’ project carries a certain contradiction, or ambivalence, or uncertainty. “It is no doubt crucial,” she says, “that IGB opened space for the expression of public anguish and collective mourning.” But, “Although lauded by gay liberals for having “done something” to address the recent spate of queer youth suicides, critics note that queer people of colour, trans, genderqueer and gender nonconforming youth, and lesbians have not been inspirationally hailed by IGB in the same way as white gay male liberals.” Moreover, she says, these videos have come in response to the recent suicides of a number of young queers in the US, and they work to highlight that gay teen suicide rates are incredibly high. But in doing so, she asks us following Laurel Dykstra, do they efface other high rates of suicide, particularly in Aboriginal/Native American communities? And does this then set up a sort of competition of oppression, or, indeed, resilience?
And how do such critiques, or narratives, importantly work to remind us of the intersections of different forms of marginalisation, and making of difference?