I’m currently trying to write an article on male homosexuality and resistance, and it’s not going very well. But in the meantime I thought I’d write on an instance on heteronormativity within the anarchist scene here in Wellington that really quite pissed me, and made me realise my isolation in the scene when it comes to queer male issues.

The A-Men is a group for anarchist men to discuss issues of masculinity, feminism, and their relation to women. It’s a good idea and I’m glad its happening. They recently held a consent workshop to discuss issues of sex, consent and rape. A few days before one of the guys part of this group decided to let me know that it’d be quite heterosexist… it was nice of him to consider me but in reality it was a mere afterthought. You know, “I spose we better let the token gay boy know this might not be very useful to him”. The rest of the group had given absolutely no thought to the fact that the workshop was going to be entirely about boy-girl sexual relations with no space for boy-boy relations.

In the end I didn’t go: I really didn’t want to have to struggle to be heard amongst those guys, especially since it would probably have been quite disruptive to something which is after all a really necessary move on their parts. But a couple gay anarchists did go. They quickly learnt that it was solely about boy-girl relations, with no consideration for any other sort of relationship. The workshop organisers insisted that it is the boy’s responsibility to ask for consent, and when it was asked how boy-boy consent should work they apparently shrugged it off as not worth considering.

They had no idea of the issues in boy-boy relations, which obviously include consent, but more importantly probably to those within the anarchist community would be issues of rape. In many urban gay scenes, rape is prolific and often laughed off. We’re assumed to be so hungry for sex, with such demanding sexual appetites, that surely we must welcome rape as just another opportunity to get off. A workshop covering homosexual relations would surely then also have to deal with defence against rape, but the organisers had absolutely no clue this was even an issue.

I wouldn’t have minded if this was advertised as a workshop on heterosexual consent for men, but it wasn’t. It was assumed it was heterosexual by default, with only having to make a partial disclaimer to me in person. Homosexual relations were ignored, sidelined and totally not understood.