and yes, I’m talking to you, queers.
Today seems like as good a time as any to state/reiterate my frustration with pretty much all leftist responses to gay marriage.
I don’t like marriage or something. Assimilation bad! Can I have my cookie now?
As I watch my little corner or the intertubes today, I’m struck that most of the people with that red HRC logo as their profile pic are straight allies – not all, mind you, but most.
My queer friends are far more likely to be linking to Against Equality’s website or posting that “progressive” alternative to the HRC logo.
This is admittedly because the people I associate with are more likely to be straight allies or radical queers than the friends group of your average American.
As I’ve hashed and rehashed so many times on this site that now I think you can order it at The Fleetwood, I used to be proud to call myself a radical queer – until I realized that radical queerness, in so far as I could see, was beset by the same racism and classism that it was nominally fighting.
No, I’m sorry; I will not support an ideology that hinges on perpetuating the myth that only rich white gay people will benefit from gay marriage/adoption. This is demonstrably false.
Rich white queers with access to lawyers and accountants figured out workarounds for marriage years ago. Their self-interest now lies only in avoiding that hassle and expense.
Radical queers do the worst kind of disservice to their argument by choosing to attack the message instead of the methods of the HRC set.
Gay marriage will actually most benefit poor queers who do not have access to legal/economic workarounds for marriage.
Not that this fits in with the anxious, hand-wringing worldview of radical queers, who insist that all queers live in exactly the same fashion – some Raspberry Reich fourth-wave utopia where queer culture can’t possibly survive without a narcissistic fascination with its own difference.
And the only comfort on offer from radical queers is the sleek, sexy possibility of not assimilating.
Because while radical queers (rightly!) point out that there are other more pressing needs, almost none have offered anything in the way of a plan to divest marriage of its privilege.
We’re all supposed to be dreaming so big, but no one has a vision of how to divest marriage of its privilege?
You have to hand it to rad queers, it’s a pretty good paradox – not giving you a way forward, but labeling you an assimilationist traitor if you’re willing to take the existing way.
Doesn’t choosing not to participate mean so much more when you’re allowed to participate? You’d think radical queers would be so damn jolly about not getting gay married even if they could.
And I know this will fall on deaf ears, but radical queers: I am not anymore interested in forced dis-assimilation than I am in assimilation. My life will not be dictated by anyone – be they beacons of traditional society or white queers with PhDs.
Was radical queer activism derailed by DOMA and the contemporary reorganization of the HRC? Yes.
Is there a long list of other things we could have spent the last 17 years talking about and working on? Yes.
But instead of responding to the racism and classism that allowed the HRC set to organize so fiercely behind gay marriage – because they could understand how it affected them, because it didn’t ipso facto make them need to think about us icky poor people – radical queers chose to fight what the HRC wants, not how it’s getting it.
The rejection of incremental change – and boldly lying to and about the people it will help – creates a self-fulfilling self-satisfaction with stagnation, matched only by deeply wounded shock and offense when the revolution doesn’t take the shape it has in the radical mind’s eye.
Here’s a shocker: the revolution doesn’t look the same to everyone.
I would have thrown in the towel 10 years ago if I thought my job were total and complete social revolution by the end of working hours today.
Everyone has a part to play in dismantling systems of oppression, and the time is nigh to stop attacking realistic progress.
The time is nigh to stop lying about marriage. The time is nigh to stop attacking those who live a different queer life than you do.
The time is nigh to build coaliti0ns to smash all of our oppressions. The time is nigh to foster a new generation of progressive allies. The time is nigh to build each other up instead of tearing ourselves apart.
Big Mama Schlomo