the heterosexual privilege

Yeah, that one. The one that we angsty types skip over completely when angsting. As much as my circumstances feel pretty crappy, I’m working within a structure that has significant community and industrial support. There are entire commercial enterprises thriving on getting me introduced to a nice young heterosexual fella. So even putting aside all the homophobia and heterosexism a queer-identified individual deals with on daily basis, and adding to that the concentrated homophobia characterizing most immigrant communities, typically manifest in a complete denial of any relationship outside of straight-straight cis-gendered-opposite-cis-gendered, and adding to that the ostracism and conflict within the typical immigrant family towards anyone following outside those categories, I’m going to go ahead and say I’ve got the better deal.

Because even putting all that aside, if an L, G, B, T, or Q person has thought it out the same way I have and decided that it would be preferable to marry/partner within the community, and logs onto shaadi.com and finds an attractive looking person to express interest in, well – they’d probably get a message saying “You cannot express interest in members of the same gender.” So, sure, there are bigger things to worry about, and sure, maybe if you’ve gone through all the trouble of coming out to your family and most likely building a new or at least supplemental community for yourself, discrimination from shaadi.com isn’t your primary concern and finding a nice young fella in the community to settle down with isn’t on your radar. But maybe it is. And so for all ways in which this feels occasionally shitty, I do try to remember that along with all the other fruits of heterosexual privilege, there’s an industrial complex behind my attempt at this arranged marriage thing, and I should really probably (sometimes) sit down and shut up.

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sec·ond-gen·er·a·tion (sknd-jn-rshn)

adj. 1. Of or relating to a person or persons whose parents are immigrants.

n.b.: arranged marriage

When I use "arranged marriage" here, I'm talking a very specific type of marriage, in which one (often a second generation immigrant) is socialized and pressured by their community to marry someone from within that community as part of a way to bind two families together. It's often accompanied by a cultural prohibition against dating, especially serial dating, such that there is typically a short timeline from meeting to marriage. In the United States, where I am, and in other diasporas, an arranged marriage isn't necessarily arranged anymore, although parents and grandparents shoulder much of the responsibility in networking and making introductions. The bride-to-be and groom-to-be yield veto power at all times and their happiness and consent are among the most critical criteria in proceeding. In general, the kind of arranged marriage that I know is enforced only by family and community approval and disapproval (although let's not underestimate how powerful these are). At no point am I talking about a truly arranged marriage in which there's no options, no veto, and enforcement by violence or restriction of liberty. I don't pretend that I know anything about living that kind of truth or that anything I experience is comparable to that kind of future.

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