Some Thoughts on S.O.'s and Sexual Orientation
I wanna add my voice to the ongoing conversation on Sex Offenders (S.O.’s) and LGBTQ people from a revolutionary perspective.
One key hurdle I think has to be constantly attacked and can only be attacked through criticism and self-criticism: so-called revolutionaries, activists, and political prisoners self-identifying as these things but still holding to the vestiges of their gangster, reactionary world views that make them comfortable.
A political activist analyzes people, places, and things from a political perspective. What is this person, place, or thing’s worth, or lack thereof, to the political programs that political group/individual is striving for? The military activist analyzes people, places, and things from a military perspective, analyzing what will be most advantageous to the military goals of their army, militia, unit, etc.
Because of this, morals and standards in political and military groups, among such people are constantly shifting. When one is on the battlefield, even the most avowed racist, sexist, homo-transphobe, sex offender bigot, will not allow their hate or disdain for the “other” to cost them their lives. The primary concern for the soldier or military commander would be can this person maintain discipline in battle, can they perform under pressure, will they desert their comrades in battle or go AWOL, are they reliable. If the S.O. or non-heterosexual was saving your life on a battlefield, no one would say “let me die I don’t like your kind” or “you’re irredeemable.” At that moment, the equality of humankind will shine bright and true and all the self-gratifying lies we tell each other will shrink in comparison with the truth.
I am not saying you should have no concern about the moral fabric of comrades. Usually morality and politics overlap. What I am saying is that a person/group’s political line and commitment should be of deciding and primary concern if you yourself are indeed a political activist or military activist.
How many times in prison have we seen the “rules” of organizations bent for certain “stomp down” individuals. How many times have we seen people look the other way when a member of their org partakes in sexual gratification that the org prohibits or has a case that’s frowned upon by the org? When this occurs it is usually because those in the org recognize the person in question is a practitioner of violence and that violent aggression is better with you than against you. So people make a tactical or strategic decision to condone, accept what they would otherwise attack or shun. For better or worse, this is political maneuvering at its core and it’s done every day in every prison. I am not promoting it, simply stating truths. The purpose of pointing these truths is to say that if the apolitical populace can discern these nuances then why can’t the politically do so when our causes are so much more noble and worthy of forgiving of one another’s trespasses (real & perceived).
Try a new way of relating to the people on the compound with you. If we’re revolutionaries then we should be revolutionizing the social relations and castes in prison. The prison culture fosters a caste system based on criminal history, skin color, material wealth, propensity for violence, and sexual orientation. As revolutionaries we must check ourselves if we’re not actively establishing a new prison culture and eliminating the hard-line caste structure. How? It starts with building and maintaining relations based on ones level of revolutionary ideology and practice.
Instead of greeting people with “Where you from, what you in for?” or being concerned about who they’re attracted to or intimate with, your greetings, concerns, and inquiries should be, “What are your politics? What do you think about capitalism? How do you think we could organize against the issues we face? Check out this political program, and tell me what if anything you’d be willing to contribute to advancing it.” If you aren’t doing that in some form or fashion you need to engage in self-criticism, are you a revolutionary or a convict bound by the rules and ideas of prison culture?
Lastly, the notion that any group, or person is exempt from recovery, rehabilitation, or transformation is metaphysical, subjective, and thus incorrect. Despite the subject matter, the universe and everything in it, including one’s ideas and impulses, attractions, are in constant movement and development. Nothing remains stagnant. This universal truth is the only universal truth, that nothing remains the same. Therefore to predetermine that anyone or anything is irredeemable is out of compliance with reality and is therefore incorrect thinking, and merely a reflection of one’s biased and narrow analysis. Another small point I want to turn on from ULK #82, ‘Thugs Are Sex Offenders Too’, where the writer says:
“The problem is that most transgender men-women in prison are sex offenders, they are in for preying on children.”
This statement is obviously biased and subjective, and leads to flawed analysis. It is possibly true that the trans people that writer has encountered in prison are all S.O.’s, but it is the exact opposite for my own lived experience. No transgender person I’ve encountered has ever been locked up for a sexual offense, outside of soliciting prostitution. Here’s what I mean by a purely subjective analysis, one that is narrow and one sided relying on one’s own experience only. The truth is that trans people are most often victims of sexual predators in and out of prisons. Those who’ve become predators themselves, whether trans or not, are most often victims of prior sexual abuse. Though this may not align with the writers lived experience it is the majority experience in society as told by polls and statistics. Yet the metaphysical, subjective, nature of postmodernist philosophy has us giving more credence to our own individual lived experience than that of the society at large or a wide array of the population. If we’re in the business of transforming society at large that sort of analysis will not work well.
Dare to Invent the Future