Jason Stahl’s invitation for LGBT response can’t be passed up. Let’s take a look at some of the issues facing disempowered queer people: We’re abused in school, severed from our communities and fired from our jobs. We pay for free speech with glass ceilings – the price of advancement is self-abnegation. We are torn from our children, told we are unfit citizens, unfit parents, unfit patriots, worthless human beings. Our identities are used to degrade people who aren’t even queer, and if on the other hand our identities are used to exoticise and package commercial products like she-male porn or “Will and Grace,” then we are supposed to kowtow in gratitude.
And yet the face of our community of activists is white, male and bourgeois, childishly proud of statistics “proving” that gay people (these particular ones, that is, who answer surveys) are smarter, richer and better educated than straight people, and they’re worried about marriage. I know some middle-aged white activists who have lived in the suburbs for years with their partners. They sure are passionate about marriage, but do they volunteer with troubled queer teens? Do they critique their own racist portrayals of non-white communities as homophobic? Do they actively link our movement to other civil rights movements? Don’t make me laugh.
I believe the not-so-secret fear of most radical queer activists is that these guys are going to just abandon the movement and disappear into Stepford stagnation as soon as marriage is legal. The money and power in the LGBT movement is motivated by exactly the same principles as the money and power of the right wing that they’re trying, via marriage, to emulate.
Without marriage and basic legal recognition, how can we even hope to move on to these more “controversial” issues? The argument runs, “Let’s take things one step at a time.”
Bull. The proof is in the pudding. If you actually care about these more “controversial” issues, you should be working on them right now. Oh, and by the way, human rights are not “controversial.” Isn’t that the sentiment your precious suit-and-tie HRC is supposed to stand for?
Bryan Gordon is a University graduate student. Please send comments to [email protected]