Monday, 22 August 2011

Activism Also Means Pragmatism

Blind activism is no better than extremism. Assaulting a fortress without any means of penetrating it is suicidal and pointless. Pulling a Don Quixote [1] may seen noble and heroic to oneself, but one's environment will still be laughing and shaking their heads at what are clearly the rantings and actions of a mad person.

Some recent examples of this kind of lunatic behaviour can be found for example in the actions of COC Netherlands, the organization for homosexuals in the Netherlands. They expressed their outrage at the Minister of Education not forcing schools to educate their students about homosexuality and related topics, and started a petition aimed at this Minister to change her mind. Seems reasonable so far until you realize that the Minister in question didn't forbid education students about this topic, and there was nothing stopping COC from approaching schools with educational materials and such. Maybe it's not as grand as forced education, but it's hypocritical and sheer lunacy to wring one's hands and complain about the wrongdoings of the government when oneself hasn't been involved in attempts to change the situation.

Another example comes from OII [3] where some of the Australian group expressed their disgust at the intersex logo I had proposed in my previous blog entry:
"I am not so comfy with Intersex being described/symbolised using Male femal [sic] symbols. It kind of bys [sic] into the binary that opresses [sic] us IMHO"
"I reject the sex binary and gender binary without reservation.I will not adopt the symbols of oppression, sorry."

No room for compromise or pragmatism. Reading those responses made me feel sick to my stomach. I don't like rhetoric, especially not when it's extremist rhetoric. As I responded to these statements:
"The logo stands for the two extremes of male/female with the wide diversity of other forms in between. If anything it breaks with all existing symbols, and most importantly it doesn't try to portray intersex as a 'third sex'."

Note that neither OII nor ILGA has produced a widely used symbol for intersex, and neither bother with educating the masses. I never heard about either organization until a few years ago because they are so completely unknown. They hide in the shadows, try to talk with politicians on what they deem equal footing, but since they have no weight due to their relative anonymity they're readily ignored.

With organizations like COC, OII and ILGA pretending to fight for the rights of homosexual, transsexual and intersex people, it's no wonder that nothing positive is happening. They're essentially spouting rhetoric at anything they don't like, never search fault by themselves and therefore end up rejecting the 'normal' people, instead preferring to tilt at unassailable targets, like politicians. Wind mills are far more considerate and easier targets in comparison.

Thinking about how extremism and unreasonable, even hypocritical behaviour of the very activists who are supposed to save the oppressed are eradicating any chance of this succeeding makes me feel beyond ill. Humanity truly may be doomed.




Strange_Panda said...

To be honest, the first time I heard about intersex was when I read one of your blogposts (which, by the way, are really interesting). I like the symbol, it is something that can be interpreted in various ways.

Recently, I was reading the xkcd blog about colour-blindness, in which they asked for your chromosomes at birth. They did this so that intersex, transsexuals and other groups wouldn't feel excluded. It made me happy to see that others think about these groups as well. (I hate to call them groups, it kind of makes it sound like they aren't normal humans, but I know no other way of saying what I want to say).

Nicky said...

That's why I am not a fan of the current intersex groups. This is why I stay far away from intersex groups and do things on my own