Just to add to the debate - there were a few things that I found problematic about this piece as well, which other commenters have already pointed out. I think it's vital to be open to a conversation about writing that addresses various issues around identity, representation, and human rights, and that includes criticisms. I don't think that anyone trashed the piece or are discounting the effort and quality of the writing itself. Sure, there are a few flippant comments, but overall, valid criticisms shouldn't be seen as a total writing off. I'm a little discouraged by a back-and-forth that doesn't allow for any nuanced reading of this piece. Given the brevity necessitated by the site's format, I think that it's really encouraging that a conversation ensued in the comments. Writing about a complicated social issue brings to light a lot of things that can't be resolved in a 700 word essay, which leaves a lot of room for conversation.
@iceberg Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the LW either has had or is anticipating having a conversation in which they identify themselves as queer and bi-gender/genderfluid and the person to whom they are speaking says "what does that mean?" and the simplest way to answer the question is (as the LW wrote) "yes, I'm attracted to men, but only if they are sexually submissive and can treat me like another man in the bedroom." The LW said themselves that their identities are all tangled up in each other and difficult to describe. It would be great if the LW could come out as queer and bi-gender/genderfluid and the response would generally be a to the point, "OK. What pronoun do you prefer?" and case closed. But all sorts of people ask all sorts of invasive questions, and it sounds like the LW is trying to find a way to present and ultimately answer questions about their identity in a direct, non-exhausting way that also doesn't effect their professional life (and for this I have no answer).
@j-i-a I get frequent yeast infections - short of a full-on cleanse are there any things that are worse than others, diet-wise? I know some of the really obvious ones, like sugar and alcohol, but I'm wondering if there's a middle ground. Is it better to eat unleavened whole grain bread, for instance, instead of a home-made sourdough? I know when I did the cleanse before, I cut out fruit, but obviously some fruits are less sugary than others. Is it better to drink wine than beer? Just trying to get a clear idea for foods to definitely avoid and others that may be OK in moderation. Also, an opinion on the candida cleanse in general would be helpful.
@farowl I am so sorry this happened to you, and so glad that you are OK.
@LaLoba I'd go straight for Jean-Luc if I were you (I mean, if we're already branching into TNG).
@Chesty LaRue Ah, cool! I really hope I didn't sound patronizing! This just happens to be something I read/think about a lot and also I am constantly checking myself in conversations!
@Chesty LaRue Here are a few things that come to mind:
1. Listen, don't ask. People will share their experiences if they want to. If someone does share with you, don't say, "I know! A similar thing happened to me." Because it's not the same. Don't minimize someone's experience by saying "I'm sure they didn't mean it" or "that doesn't sound that bad."
2. Let things come up naturally - by specifically bringing up an article about white feminist privilege and then identifying yourself in relationship to it in a conversation with your co-worker, you are putting her on the spot, with an expectation that she'll either respond "oh no, you're not at all" or "Yeah, now that you mention it..." Or even that you expect her to educate you on how to do better. Like any work relationship, it takes time to get to a level of conversational intimacy - a place where people share things other than work related matters. Maybe you've already reached that place - in that case, she'll talk to you about it if she wants to, and won't if she doesn't.
I don't want to make you feel bad, and I should qualify this by saying that I am white and (as Simone pointed out earlier) certainly not immune to participating in and benefiting from systemic and institutional racism and privilege. However, if I have one piece of advice, it would be - DO NOT ask your co-worker if she has thoughts on the article. That puts her in a really shitty position. She might not have read it, or have an opinion at all (I'm assuming you don't work at, for example, a feminist blog, in which case she would almost definitely have an opinion). If she does, she might not want to share it with you.
I'll just finish this (very long comment) to say that I think there is a fine and difficult to see line between creating a safe space and listening and being genuinely interested in someone's life and experience OR asking invasive questions and making someone uncomfortable. I personally always err on the side of courtesy - if you are already in a conversation about race/privilege, ask questions cautiously and judiciously, and allow the conversation to end or shift. Don't press it. If the topic isn't already raised, don't raise it. Create a safe space by doing your best to be self-critical, and to call out racism when/if you see it. Earlier in this thread, I recommended the racism school tumblr, and it really is a great resource if you're interested.