The other day, I ran into a friend a block from my apartment and we had an interesting conversation about the book launch for That's Revolting!, which I thought was totally incredible because people were so engaged, and my friend said he was disturbed. Why disturbed? He said he wasn't sure about the strategy of shutting gay marriage down. Shutting gay marriage down? What on earth do you mean?
I think this happens a lot, where there's this reversal about who is doing the shutting down. There's no question in my mind that gay marriage proponents have systematically shut anti-marriage and anti-assimilationist queers out of the conversation. It's much easier for them to argue with Christian fundamentalists who think all gay people are gonna burn in hell. And it's a symbiotic relationship -- they fund each other's organizations. I mean the fear of the gays fills fundamentalist coffers and the fear of the Bible thumpers funnels money into marriage fundamentalist gay organizations.
What was so amazing about the launch is that no one was backing down, no one said why yes, gay marriage is a beginning -- I hate that shit, when every queer who opposes marriage feels obliged to say that it's okay for people to want marriage, it's just that we need a broader movement also. But the problem is that the marriage movement has replaced the broader movement!
I think it's contradictory when people say yes, but marriage is a beginning -- sure, it's a beginning, but it's the wrong beginning! There's this hesitancy for people to voice scathing critiques, and I think a lot of that has to do with this fear that my friend was talking about. That, somehow, if we articulate our opposition to marriage with all our passion and eloquence and glamor, then somehow we're shutting other people out of the conversation. When, in fact, other people are certainly free to respond with passion and eloquence and glamor.
Gay marriage proponents are the ones dominating media representations of what it means to be queer, I mean gay, I mean straight-gay. They are the ones ensuring that the conversation remains a ridiculous one between foaming-at-the-mouth homophobes and the gays who just want the homophobes to accept them on homophobe's terms -- we're just like you we're just like you we're just like you.
Oh -- so do you also think that all queers are gonna burn in Hell?
I just love that strategy -- convincing Christian fundamentalists to accept us on their terms and now the gay marriage proponents even wants to decide what people look like and how they dress and how they represent themselves at their own weddings. I mean really -- it's not enough to embrace the dominant institution of straight privilege like it's the holy grail, you gotta buy into the whole package! Soon they're gonna make the gay wives show up with their bruises covered by Dermablend, right?
Gay marriage is a dead end. Sure, if we want cultural erasure, bring it on! I believe in an oppositional culture that celebrates resistance, encourages defiance, and engages in complicated, critical conversations about accountability at all times. If that furthers the divide, bring it on! Wishy-washy pragmatism only helps the people with the most power -- in this case, um, that means the (Christian) fundamentalists.
Mattilda also blogs at nobodypasses.blogspot.com