The gay marriage debate has taken over all the attention from the queer movement left and right. The right wing is consistently and stubbornly denying the existence of queer folks by saying that it’s an immoral choice of lifestyle. The liberal gay and lesbian organizations are continually pulling millions and millions of dollars to appeal to the state for marriage equality under the rhetoric of “we are all the same.” On the other hand, queer separatists are fiercely combating the liberals with the slogan: “we are totally and absolutely different from the heteros,” and have made good points on criticizing the oppressive patriarchal nature of the institution of marriage and how queers should not seek this type of inclusion. However, these critiques have not necessarily been able to generate an alternative grassroots movement which can seriously take on the demands of those queers who are marginalized–queer people of color, trans folks, working-class queers, queers with disabilities, and third world and immigrant queers–from all of the above approaches.
There has been a series of intolerable queer violence that occurred very recently in the country–torture, youth suicide, school bullying–while the violence is nothing new to queer folks, it is urgently calling for the communities’ response to these issues. Though the liberals are posting heartwarming videos and articles and holding vigils saying that “it gets better”, we know that the fight cannot end here. As oppressed folks we know that queer oppression does not end when we graduate from high school bullying and move to San Francisco and suddenly become successful professionals who hang out in fancy bars and overcome all of our internal and external conflicts. Here are QPOCs’ responses to queer youth suicides: “It doesn’t get better. You get stronger”
The liberals see gay marriage as the end of the queer struggle, and have this fantasy that if gay marriage was legal national-wide, then soon it would “trickle down” to the marginalized communities and thus end all queer oppression.
We know for a fact that the gay marriage demand alone is incapable of solving our problems of physical, psychological, and economic violence, but instead normalizes a different though limited type of family under capitalism. Criticizing the approach of marriage equality alone has not helped much with movement building either. The debate overall has clearly not been very productive so far, but instead, it has instigated so much anxiety among the queer communities–many politically conscious queers are having panic attacks just over the moral decisions of choosing to support and/or participate in gay marriage if they had the rights to do so. All this overwhelming anxiety around the gay marriage issue is exactly because that there has not been an alternative queer movement that can channel the energy, and this debate has been monopolized in the framework of “individual choice” and “individual freedom.” Under this liberal ideology, many queer folks think that, of course we should have the right as individuals to choose who we love, who we want to have sex, and who we want to have family with! If straight people do why can’t we?! While queer folks are absolutely discriminated against by the heterosexist state which should not be tolerated, seeking freedom under this individualist ideology has not gotten us too far. Instead of carving out a tiny gay space out of the small stream of bourgeois, legislative rights, can we imagine a kind of sexual freedom that is for all people? A kind of freedom where a single mom is able to bring up her child without feeling obligations to marry? A kind of freedom that no one would be restrained in pantyhose at work anymore? A kind of freedom that as a culture we are finally not tabooed to talk about sex, but does not idealize or professionalize it either? A kind of freedom that everyone would play with gender without shame, and a culture that no youth would commit suicide because of school bullying, or because they might just have a different sexual fantasy? A kind of place that no one would be afraid to walk the streets at night, where none of our body parts– our brains or our genitals –are pathologized. A kind of freedom that is multifaceted, and does not merely carve out a different shape of box to fit in a particular sexuality, but opens up the possibility to more creative desires for everyday folks.
The mainstream gay movement today has hijacked the revolutionary sexual liberation movement in the 70s and turned it into a short-sighted individual rights agenda. They assume that every queer person has the same class position and desires the same kind of American Dream. Their answer to the queer working-class concern is that marriage can help poor folks get access to spousal benefits such as health insurance–which is fundamentally contradictory. For instance, many of our partners do not have health insurance in the first place because we do not have stable jobs or jobs that offer it in the first place. That said, the issue of gay marriage should not merely be decided by who participates in it. Rather, we should ask–who are the people controlling the movement? Whose voices are not heard? And, what is our alternative? While having equal rights can perhaps open up more space for our struggle, we cannot let the liberals such as the Human Rights Campaign and Democrats define our movement. We also cannot let the queer separatists defeat us and push us out of the struggle.
What we need is to build an issue-focused working-class movement that centers queer analysis. Our demands should cut across sexuality and gender lines, while fore-fronting and popularizing queer needs. We should demand universal health care that includes access to hormones, gender reassignment surgeries, and an anti-heterosexist health system that does not attempt to pathologize our queer bodies and erase the traumas we face in a violent homophobic society. We should demand asylum for all immigrants and not solely rely on the liberal, imperialist reform agenda such as the DREAM Act that attempts to draft the youth from our communities into the oppressive military system. These need to be our demands because we know that our fate as workers are bound up with the exploitation of the undocumented workers and the exploitation of youth of color. Today, anti-queer violence erodes our sense of community and leaves us feeling raw, vulnerable, and fearful for ours and our friends’ safety. This is a crucial time for queers and allies who distrust the state and the police to come together and mobilize from the grassroots to defend ourselves from homophobic violence. We should take the lesson from the initial domestic violence movement which set up grassroots phone trees, patrols, and shelters to challenge patriarchal violence in the households and in the streets. Today, we need to resurrect this sense of grassroots unity that links our struggles together and not to rely on the compromised liberals and non-profits, or the homophobic, racist state institutions that divide and assault our communities.
When the gay liberal assimilationists say to middle-class straight folks, “we are just like you,” and the queer separatists on the other say “hell no we are nothing like you” and form their own blocs, we should be the force that says to every day folks who struggle that “we are just like you, and you are actually just like us”–because queer folks have always been part of the working-class and we are not fundementally different from one another. Our oppression as queers is not a fixed pathology. It is a product of the heteronormative, homophobic society, and it does not have to stay that way forever. In fact, the essence of queer liberation lies within the ability for everyone to celebrate and experiment their sexuality, gender, and desire. It is not enough to only carve out another limited category of acceptable sexuality for a certain group of people. This kind of change is not liberation–it is a very limited imagination of freedom. We need to start off with this fundamental vision of uniting the working-class and queer struggles and ensure that not any part of ourselves will be forced to compromise in the movement.
"What’s amazing is the ‘conversion experience’: people find themselves almost violently angry at pi. They feel like they’ve been lied to their whole lives, so it’s amazing how many people express their displeasure with pi in the strongest possible terms - often involving profanity.
"I don’t condone any actual violence - that would be really bizarre, wouldn’t it?"
“Right away, you should be able to see the difference. You already knew the answer to the “Were you there?” question, but you don’t know the answer to the “How do you know that?” question. That means the person answering it will tell you something you don’t know, and you will learn something new. And that is the coolest thing ever.”—A sweet letter to a 9-year old creationist, by PZ Meyers.
“We’re beautiful because we’re different. We shouldn’t aspire to be more like society, society should aspire to be like us. Mutant and Proud”- Mystique from X-Men first class…… can we just talk about how totally queer that statement is? That is why I am queer not gay. Fuck yes I am strange, different, or weird compared to heteronormative/ patriarchal society and I am damn proud of that. It is the fact that I am non-normative that makes me fucking fabulous.
WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PROVE THAT NOT ALL FEMINISTS ARE ANGRY HAIRY UGLY FAT (cis) MAN-HATING WHATEVERS.
-BECAUSE HAIRY SHOULDN’T EQUAL BAD -BECAUSE FAT SHOULDN’T EQUAL BAD -BECAUSE IF CIS-MEN CAN RECOGNIZE THEIR (CIS-MALE) PRIVILEGE THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE MAY HATE CIS-MEN AND WHY HATING CIS-MEN IS A FUCKING VALID RESPONSE TO OPPRESSION -BECAUSE WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FUCKING ANGRY.
I’m fucking sick of people silencing pro-body hair discussions within feminism because “it perpetuates the stereotype of feminists being hairy” because when you say that you mean to say that it perpetuates the NEGATIVE stereotype of feminists being hairy BUT IT’S NOT NEGATIVE BECAUSE BEING HAIRY ISN’T A BAD THING. If you’ll only listen to feminism if it’s hairless then FUCK OFF.
I AM REALLY FUCKING SICK OF HOW WHEN A CONVENTIALLY ATTRACTIVE WOMYN CONSIDERS HERSELF A FEMINIST IT’S TREATED LIKE HER OPINION ON FEMINISM IS SOMEHOW MORE VALID JUST BECAUSE WE THINK NON-FEMINISTS WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO LISTEN TO HER.
IF PEOPLE WILL ONLY LISTEN TO FEMINIST SPEECH WHEN IT COMES OUT OF A CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE (thin, white, hairless, able-bodied, cisgender etc) MOUTH AND IF WE ONLY VALUE FEMINISTS SPEECH THROUGH THOSE CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE MOUTHS THEN WE WILL BE GETTING FUCKING NOWHERE.
So I don’t give a fuck if people stereotype feminists as angry hairy fat ugly slutty cis-man-hating lesbians, BECAUSE NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE BAD THINGS. I’M SORRY IF CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE FEEL ALIENATED BY FEMINISM BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED, MOST STANDARDS OF ATTRACTIVENESS ARE ATTRIBUTES OF PRIVILEGED GROUPS AND HEY SOCIAL JUSTICE DOESN’T EXIST TO HELP THE PRIVILEGED GROUPS SO YEAH.
“By the way, people who use dirty words this way — as missiles, hand grenades, deadly weapons — are following a very conventional taboo themselves. They are not nearly as daring as they think. The conventional taboo I mean is that you cannot show two people making love happily and voluntarily but you can show (in whatever gory or fantastic detail you like) the process of one of them murdering the other.”—
“Advice for young feminists? Do something else besides feminism. I’m serious. The feminist blogosphere is oversaturated in my opinion. Please, find something else you love and take feminist theory there. It gets lonely over here in tech and video games – I have a great crew of other feminists but we are a little island in a vast sea. We need more feminist minded business bloggers, feminist theory wielding finance bloggers. Labor organizers with a feminist lens blogging. Can you imagine what Deadspin (the sports blog) would look like with a feminist on staff? Restructure writes about science, tech and feminism – join her! Publish a blog doing literary criticism with a feminist lens! Take on the NYT! Talk about class issues and feminism. Whatever it is, apply your feminism in a different space.”—
“Another thing common among elves is that they have a low birthrate, are fiercely jealous of humans for being able to drop litters, and when humans get too numerous they will sail away to the west, weeping tears of severe butthurt all the way in their pearly swan-boats. You ever heard a particular breed of white folks lamenting how awful it is that all the black people and the Chinese and Hispanics are spawning like bunnies, and that white people are increasingly an endangered species? You ever seen a white family get spooked when their neighborhood becomes just a little colorful, so they move to an all-white suburban area where they can continue to send their kids to school full of other middle-class white kids, attend parent meetings where they’ll never ever be threatened by the sight of someone who isn’t the hue of frog bellies?
Words cannot express how much I hate elves; beautiful perfect immortal assholes who have none of the same problems as mere humans. In fact, Mr. Trina and I met at a convention where he was talking about elves and the overuse of dragons. I asked, poker faced, “Do you like elves and dragons?” He paused, knowing I held some intense feelings. He looked me in the eye, and responded with a clear, “Nope. I hate them.” And then I hugged him, and we both laughed and we spent the rest of the con together.
It’s worth noting that claiming that there’s something broken in submissives — or in submissive men — amounts to an argument for etiology, yet there’s no consensus on why we have the kinks we do in the BDSM community, and no answer at all from the research, what little there is. There’s a plain inconsistency between sometimes very smart and well-informed people knowing and saying that there’s no available answer to why we do what it is that we do, and then saying (usually among our own) that we know why subs are subs.
This gets personal for me. I can’t tell you why I have the kinks I do, but I can tell you what I get out of bottoming. The challenge, the difficulty, the trust, the violation of gender and social norms with a partner, all amount to one thing: a site of tremendous intimacy, a shared physical end emotional journey where I am vulnerable to and connected with my partner … like jumping off a cliff. So that’s my answer.
What these prejudices amount to is a normalizing and centering of the experience of the dominant in The Scene. One way this is apparent is by the overrepresentation of tops or dominants among presenters. Presentations tend to be about skills, often bondage and painplay skills, and there’s a perception that it’s easier for the top to teach these skills. I don’t entirely agree with that perception, but between the overrepresentation of men among tops in The Scene, and the tendency for tops to do the teaching, that means that male tops to most of the talking. As one of Weiss’s informants put it: “[Janus is a] het male dom group. Every single presentation I’ve ever been to, every class I’ve ever taken … across the board, het dom male.” (Weiss at p. 241 n. 14.)
Maymay tells a story about presenting with a partner somewhere: he’s a bottom, and his partner started out by singletailing his back. And then the audience expected her to stop and start explaining what she had shown. But instead, Maymay, the bottom, started explaining what she was doing, as a top, and what he was doing, as a bottom. It’s a paired activity. It makes perfect sense that the bottom can explain skills for a paired activity. Topping a singletail scene means knowing something about both how to top it and what to expect from the bottom, and vice versa, but the ingrained expectation that tops teach skills was so great that the audience kept looking at the top, expecting her to take over.
Anyone who think BDSM is a passive experience for the bottom is simply kidding themselves. It takes just as much effort, but in different ways, to be dominant or submissive. And I speak from experience with both.
“What is it that makes dominant women uncomfortable with femdom? There are a lot of things. One of the biggest is the sexist attitude that is rampant in the BDSM community. It often seems like women have to remain ice queens, untarnished by actually having penile-vaginal intercourse with their male subs. However, if they want to they can become more male, and thus, more dominant by strapping on and becoming – duh duh duh – The Penetrator. This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with strapping on (I’m a fan myself), but a sex act does not a Dominant (or a submissive) make and we can’t just superimpose the male-female dichotomy onto Dominant-submissive and expect that to make anyone happy.”—The devaluation of male submission « Delving into Deviance (via sexisnottheenemy)