Despite our obsession with love, we’re still ignorant about what it means.
‘Love Trumps Hate’ is that now famous activist phrase. Love is at the cornerstone of all of our movements. It’s at the heart of most of our favourite songs, movies and TV shows but actually only a toxic kind of love is celebrated.
Queer people still face extreme violence for their love and for how they love. Queerplatonic relationships are treated with suspicion on all sides. Queer people can feel offended, as though there is a betrayal that a relationship may be based purely on platonic feelings without romance or sex. Part of the queer movement was to fight for the right to live and fuck, but it wasn’t all of the movement. Allocishet people don’t even understand what queerplatonic relationships are (guys, please Google; queer people aren’t free equality teachers).
Yet, love is prized but often in toxic ways. We dismiss victims of intimate partner violence, of which bi women are especially at risk of experiencing according to a CDC study in 2010. Asexual people are at risk of rape as a form of ‘correction’. Abusers falsely claim that they can fix asexual people by sexually assaulting them. Racism is also rampant within the queer community. The bodies of people of colour are sexualised, assaulted and mocked and their love and humanity isn’t worthy of basic respect or accommodation in the community.
Queer people are targeted by abusers in the name of love, they’re also targeted by those who are supposed to love and respect them simply as they are also members of the community. Services that could offer support are under immense strain or have already been lost, such as Broken Rainbow which was the UK’s only dedicated charity to helping queer survivors of intimate partner violence.
“Queer people are targeted by abusers in the name of love”
Love is a word that can hide violence. Partners can commit abuse in the name of love while knowing it’ll never be talked about because queer people have no one who will listen. Love is used by allies in an attempt to silence. Love is used as an excuse from parents who say they’re worried when their child comes out, but really they want their teenager to go back in the closet and pretend to be allocishet for their own convenience.
We push people to only want romantic and sexual attraction to people who are a different gender and who are cis. It’s a false ideal, and the focus allows horrific abuse to happen all around. Love can’t trump hate, if we’re quicker to show hate than love. It can’t beat hate when we’re still yet to accept the value of gay, trans, bi, aro, ace, intersex, queer and pan people. Love is solidarity. Love can be romantic but it’s also platonic. Love can have sex but doesn’t require it. Love can be mono or poly. Love can be between different genders or just one. Self love is often the hardest and most radical of them all and yet we still teach children to be humble and never let them know that they’re good enough exactly how they are.
Love over hate will be a more acceptable concept when society seems to appreciate all kinds of love. The love they don’t understand, the love they were never taught about, the love they never considered – all of it. As long as there’s consent and respect that’s all that should matter and yet we never fight for this. We never fight for all kinds of love and we’re silent in the midst of abuse. If you want to support love then start talking about all the painful elements of love, and all of the toxic ideas around it we have allowed to develop which have no place in society. Support radical love. Support respect. Or hate will trump love every time.