Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Why gay marriage IS the End of the World (or the queer world, at least)

Filed By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore | November 02, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: adoption rights, assimilation, Barack Obama, Brangelina, CIA, gay bomb, gay marriage, hate crimes legislation, health care reform, HIV/AIDS, Hollywood, Madonna, ordination into the priesthood, prison industrial complex, prozac, rainbow humvees, sex offender laws, south african diamonds, viagra

I organized a sassy roundtable for the queer issue of Maximum Rocknroll, which was the October issue -- the issue is now off the stands, but here is the roundtable for your viewing pleasure -- it's a bit long, but I figured you might love it -- or love to hate it... It starts here:

These days, lesbian soccer moms and gay military intelligence experts are all over the media, whether sermonizing in op-eds, befriending the liberal intelligentsia, or speaking softly to closeted cable news anchors: We. Are. Just. Like. You.

Supposedly gay people have made lots of progress, and that's why the only issues we hear about involve marriage, gays in the military, gay cops, adoption, ordination into the priesthood, hate crimes legislation, and unquestioning gentrification and consumerism--please, stop me before I choke on my own vomit! In honor of the Maximum Rocknroll queer issue, it's time to pull together a gang of queer troublemakers to tear this assimilationist agenda to shreds, okay?

Here's the cast of characters:

Hilary Goldberg is a San Francisco-based filmmaker currently in the finishing stages of recLAmation, the definitive movie about reclaiming Los Angeles from Los Angeles, and oh are we waiting! Yasmin Nair is a Chicago activist who delivers delicious rants about the war against single people, the tyranny of religion, fake immigration reform, and bachelorette parties with equal fervor and finesse [as you already know]. Gina Carducci throws Switch, New York City's only monthly "genderqueer/women/trans BDSM party" --she also fetishizes film, and is currently working on All That Sheltering Emptiness, a devastating short experimental film created in collaboration with your host for this splashy article.

Okay, let's get going...

MBS: I don't know about you, but have you noticed that freshly mined, blood-drenched South African diamonds are the new accessory for the gay elite, or they might as well be with how much the gaysbian "LGBT" agenda has become nothing but marriage marriage marriage--oh, and maybe a little bit of marriage with that marriage, thank you! Many of us grew up experiencing the lovely embrace of marriage or its aftermath, so we, and most queers, certainly know a lot about how marriage is, and has always been a central place for beating up, raping and abusing women, children, queers, and transpeople. And, even better--getting away with it! What are the other problems with marriage, and the gay marriage agenda in particular?

HG: I was at a protest against HIV budget cuts in California, but only four other people were there. because the rest of the gaysbians had done their recommended yearly protest allowance for gay marriage a few months prior. And what is the point of marriage if everyone is sick or dead, how do you register for that--at cemeteries and Pottery Barn? Wow, that makes me think of health care--remember health care? Something universal-based, not privilege-shaped?

YN: Yeah, I don't get why a community of people who have historically been fucked over by their families and the state now consists of people who want those exact same institutions to validate their existence. I think marriage is the gay Prozac, the drug of choice for gaysbians today: It makes them forget that marriage isn't going to give everyone health care, it won't give us a subsistence wage, it won't end all these fucked up wars that are killing people everywhere else. I wish I could say that gay marriage is like Viagra, but alas it's actually making us forget about sex so that metaphor won't work.

MBS: Speaking of sex and metaphors, let's move on to gays in the military. It's time to forget about opposing all these bloody US colonial wars, we just want to throw on those humpy battle fatigues so we can go abroad to kill people and get away with it, right? U-S-A! Can we say that again? U-S-A! Okay, so obviously the real answer is the end of the US military, not rainbow Humvees. Anything to add?

HG: Let us not forget the Gay Bomb -- much like the acid tests the CIA performed in the '50s and '60s, if that technology fell into savvy hands we could open some serious doors of perception to end the military industrial complex with some good old fashioned loving.

GC: Oh, but military service is the best way to break down gay stereotypes and homophobia! The more we kill kill kill, the more respect we get from our country-- we serve our country too! We are a valuable contribution! Show them you know how to be a man!

YN: It's time for us to call out the "gay patriots" as the enablers of U.S imperialism. Has anyone else noticed that the public faces of Don't Ask Don't Tell tend to be relatively privileged and from the officer class? And that the stories go like this: "Oh, no, he was an educated Harvard graduate who spoke four languages in which to colonize other countries, and we let him go!" One of the funniest photographs I ever saw was of a rally in downtown Chicago. A gay Army vet stood pontificating about needing to be recognized by the US military. Right behind him, his friends held up an anti-war slogan banner with the words, "US Out of Iraq." I wondered: Now, does that mean just the non-gay soldiers? Do the gay soldiers get to stay behind and kick the ass and blow the limbs off darkies?

MBS: Speaking of darkies, let's move on to adoption--if Madonna, Brad Pitt and Angelina, and any other jetsetter can run around the world in search of the cutest kids in the countries most devastated by transnational corporate violence, and then snatch those kids up and hold them in their arms, how will gay people compete? We all need kids, right? Kids are the next big thing! How do you feel about the issue of gay adoption, and child-rearing in general, as a central preoccupation of the so-called "movement?"

HG: Why don't Madonna and Angelina, in their gay wisdom, adopt some adult queer artists and activists instead? For a fraction of what they spend on a handful of appropriated transnational youths, they could adopt queer artists en masse, and foster a global queer trust fund for the movement. No need for nannies and we'd love them even more than their children, and could be just as dependent, if not more so. Average gay couples could do the same thing, direct their money towards something more expansive and useful than a handbag--I mean a gaybie. I'm thinking of a website that pairs queer artists with gay couples who have big hearts to share their love and help.

GC: Yeah, no need for pacifiers, no need to push us around in strollers, and you don't have to wait nine months for us. We're right here! Mommy!!!!

YN: If you're white, beautiful little blonde children are the best, because then you'll look like a normal and natural family. But adopting one can be next to impossible! Little brown babies make the best gay accessories. Although, like every gay fashion accessory, babies have shifted in trends. I think Mongolian babies are now much more hip. Central and South American countries were once popular, maybe NAFTA opened up free trade in cute Latin babies! Until they discovered that some of those babies were most likely kidnapped. Awkward. They may not have those pesky rules in Mongolia. Of course, if you can adopt an HIV+ African baby whose mother is still around to waste away in the last throes of the disease, so that you can show the world what you rescued the baby from, all the better. Why is it that lesbians generally give birth but gay men usually adopt?

MBS: It's because gay men are busy studying for the priesthood. I know you've been studying hard too! Of course, one of the central demands of early gay liberation was the end to organized religion and all of its layers of violence, but that's old news. What do you all think about the issue of "LGBT" people becoming powerbrokers within organized religion?

HG: It makes me cry blood. The only atonement gays should be thinking about is a nice bondage scene. And the last time I interacted with organized religion, a drag queen nun, in full make-up, yelled at me to get into a degrading gender-enforced line at a corporatized "pride" event colonized by so called do-gooders. Fuck her and the rest of organized religion.

MBS: Oh -- and let's not forget the holy grail of the gay movement, hate crimes legislation! Because if you shoot those goddamn homophobes twice, that'll really teach them a lesson--the electric chair will end homophobia! Seriously, hate crimes legislation does nothing but put more money, energy, and resources into the hands of the notoriously racist, classist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic criminal so-called "justice" system. But then they trick us into thinking that hate crimes legislation will keep us safe. What is hate crimes legislation keeping us safe from?

HG: It keeps us safe from long-term solution-based healing. It's a real time saver, so we can focus on earning money instead of focusing on root causes of hatred. We can continue to own property and assimilate into larger society by avoiding any real discourse around the source of the hate, and perpetuate it instead, while upholding that pillar of community, the greatest benefactor of the hates crimes bills--oh-so-thriving, even in economic turmoil...Private Prison Business.

YN: Hate crimes legislation keeps us safe from the silly delusion that the justice system should actually work fairly for everybody, not just gays and defined "minorities." After all, a justice system that actually provides justice seems, well, just ever so 1970s and sweetly retrograde, darling. All bell bottoms and compassion. Hate crimes legislation keeps us from a world where people might actually have a chance to show that they have moved on from their mistakes, by locking them up for perpetuity. And it keeps us believing that letting people spend their lives in violent prisons where they're likely to be raped and beaten every day is somehow a way to ... end anti-gay violence. Huh?

MBS: Speaking of anti-gay violence, let's move on to talking about the national institutions that drive this wonderful inclusive agenda. We'll start with everyone's favorite diamond merchant: HRC, the Human Rights Campaign. Also known as Helping Right-Wingers Cope, or Homogenous Ruling Class -- what else are they good for?

GC: Harvesting Righteous Caucasians. Hiring Riot Cops.

YN: Press Releases. HRC can turn out a press release on a dime. Oh, and they're great at taking credit for every "gay agenda" item, through said press releases, whether or not they had anything to do with the action. So, yeah, cocktail parties and lobby days. HRC is really good at going to cocktail parties and hobnobbing with the rich and important.

MBS: Of course, HRC also likes to keep trans people out of so-called employment nondiscrimination legislation, and to make any hideous corporation look good, as long as they like HRC's press releases. Then there's NGLTF, the National Gay Lesbian Task Force. They're especially talented at recruiting well-meaning college students, and turning them into nonprofit office drones -- Creating Change, their annual conference, is a great launching pad into the nonprofit industry, and a job at NGLTF is sure to get you more lucrative foundation work in the future -- what else is NGLTF good for?

YN: For creating the illusion that the battle royale between Democrats and Republicans actually means anything. And for perpetuating the idea that there are no alternatives to either. For pretending that a few days of a conference filled with words like "organizing" and "social" and "progressive" actually changes much. For pretending that using the word "progressive" over and over again will a) actually make that stupid word mean anything b) make us believe that their support of marriage, hate crimes legislation, and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell does not make them conservative.

GC: NGLTF is good for creating robots who are stuck repeating, "Do you have a moment for trans rights? Do you have a moment for trans rights?" And asking why why why why can you not come to our office for hours of volunteer calling calling calling and repeating what we tell you to think and say. "Why can't you make the time for trans rights? Why? Two of these robots were harassing myself and a group of friends once and I was just waiting for my trans friend to say, "If you really want to know, I need a little time to recover from trying to overdose and kill myself last week." And for the robots to ask, "Why? It's trans rights."

MBS: Oh, and I love the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD -- I think they should be called SAAD, the Straight Alliance Against Defamation, since most of what they do involves giving awards to straight people for not saying "faggot" too much. What else are they good for?

YN: Being very confused, mostly. And whining. A lot. I think Bruno confused the hell out of them: "We object to this movie. We think. It's a set of offensive stereotypes. Although the lead character is so over the top, he couldn't even possibly be a stereotype. But wait, we live to be offended. Cohen's not gay. And he makes fun of gays. Even though he also makes fun of homophobes. Wait, are we offended? Or not? It's so hard to tell, because we have no sense of humor or logic. Even the gays are sick of us. Can we call that homophobia?"

MBS: Then there's the juicy Lambda Legal Defense Fund -- fighting for our rights, one marriage at a time...

YN: Lambda might be scariest of the lot, because they're mostly lawyers who know how to twist any inane, conservative, retrograde idea like gay marriage into some kind of sterling social justice cause -- and they do that by drowning us in legalese. I once watched Camilla Taylor, a Lambda power attorney in Chicago, spend an hour talking about the legal ins and outs of Prop 8. By the end of the hour, I was so stupefied by boredom that I was almost ready to sign on to gay marriage -- just to get out of the room. There was, of course, not one word about whether marriage ought to be the way to gain any rights in the first place.

MBS: That's right -- remember that the fight against anti-gay Proposition 8 in California that those marriage morons lost actually cost more than any other ballot measure in California history! Those maniacal marriage organizations spent $40 million on that shit -- can you imagine what we would have if they took that $40 million and fought for single payer universal health care, or built an enormous queer youth shelter in San Francisco or Sacramento, Fresno or San Diego? With the leftovers, we could create a collectively run, all-ages, 24-hour sex club with free vegan food, knock-you-down music of all types, free massage, acupuncture, and healthcare for all needs, as well as a special area for training people in squatting and neighborhood redecoration projects -- bricks, stencils, spray paint, you get the idea. Anything else you want to say about marriage marriage marriage, and what we need instead?

GC: Donate Donate Donate! Do you have a moment for Prop 8? Do you have a moment for Prop 8? But really -- we need to be able to choose our own families and who visits us in the hospital and who shares our assets and who makes decisions for us, whether we are officially single or partnered. And gender is defined by us too, not by presentation but how we define our own identities. Sexual liberation and freedom and places to fuck without being policed. Housing. Healthcare. Social services. Protection for the environment.

HG: The last time I checked -- the nuclear family model -- was a disaster! Enough already. The gay rights movement needs to divorce marriage and pull it together. The system is broken, these institutions are failing, why are people so set on shoring them up? Let's focus on ending capitalism, abolishing prison, ending militarism, ensuring immigrant rights, clean air, great food, love, equality, interdependence, independence, autonomy, non-hierarchical structures, and most importantly the universal reclamation of all land and water as public property.

YN: And, of course, the abolition of the prison industrial complex, the end of the illusion that more punishment and enhanced penalties in the form of hate crimes legislation will benefit anyone, safety for young queers who are beaten and/or raped by families and have nowhere to go, intergenerational sex that's not immediately stigmatized as pedophilia, an end to sex offender laws that do nothing to end the abuse of children but only add to the coffers of the prison industrial complex, an end to the death penalty, an end to the idea that life without parole is an acceptable alternative, queer sex in public without paying a fee in a bathhouse and without being harassed, jailed, or beaten for it, an immigration rights movement that acknowledges that it's a crisis of labor, not about "families" or spousal partners, an end to the disappearance and/or deportation of undocumented people, and oh, I could go on.

There's this popular line going around about how gay marriage is the rising tide that will lift all boats. But if we are to use a seafaring metaphor, it might be more apt to call it a Titanic, doomed to crash into an iceberg and take the rest of us down.

Mattilda also blogs at nobodypasses.blogspot.com. If you liked this article, then you'll probably love the anthology Mattilda edited called That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. Because you are.


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Oh dear god...I just read all of this and I have a headache...Seriously how do you all make it day to day... I would just give up..

We. Are. Just. Like. You.

I think they are just like us. I just don't see such vast differences between straight people & lgbt people. Sometimes we project our own issues on them as much as they do on us.

Want marriage or disagree with the institution - plenty of either with the same opinion. Want free public sex - plenty of either - plenty of either that don't. Though trans marriage has issues that don't wholly coincide with gay marriage.

I don't see how limiting what they are helps either of us.


What a pitiful roundtable from a group of people who thinks of themselves as "intellectuals".

Not one constructive sentence uttered by any; only moan, groan, bitch, and complain.

Don' t like HRC, NGLTF, Lambda Legal, or GLAAD? Fine. Don't join them, and even better - start your own organizations and see what you can accomplish, and who will follow you!

If you don't like marriage, PLEASE, do not get married. Simple enough?


Dear Drake,

If your computer were a typewriter, the letters used above would be completely worn out by now and would barely show up on the screen. Seriously, you have GOT to stop cutting and pasting the exact same response EVERY time someone writes something contradicting the mainstream gay agenda (anyone who doesn't believe me should go to any of my posts or any one of Mattilda's posts to see what I mean. Just type in "Drake" and the same words here will crop up there. It's actually a little creepy). I'd ask you to come up with a new argument, but that would mean you actually have an argument to start with.

For the last time: there's a reason we're critical of marriage and the gay rights non- profit industrial complex - we don't think they work! Hence, our refusal to simply ape them by making orgs just like the ones in existence. We have movements, you have organisations. Guess which ones got you the rights you currently enjoy? Guess which ones take all the credit for the work done by movements?


And, again, for the last time: You can't create a system that ensures that marriage is the only way to get crucial benefits like health care, and then turn around and pretend that marriage is simply another choice.

You ever notice that LGBT individuals working on ENDA, DADT and marriage rights rarely are critical of LGBT members working on other things which Mattilda mentions?

Sadly we don't see the same respect coming from Mattilda and others similar. They adore being critical of things quite important to many LGBT members. Why? I haven't found being critical of things another group values a great way to get support from them.

Just a thought but if Mattilda and similar folks helped fight for ENDA, DADT and marriage rights they'd get more support for their agenda. Perhaps not to the degree at this time that they'd prefer. But my guess is once ENDA, etc. were wrapped up some of the same people and organizations fighting these battles would love to continue the good fight for other good causes.

Nerissa, I couldn't disagree with you more -- gay marriage/assimilation proponents have systematically kept queers with the broader agenda outside of the debate, because it's much easier to argue with rabid Christian fundamentalists who think you're going to burn in hell than with queers who have principled disagreements -- the idea that once marriage and military and hate crimes legislation have been approved, than everything else will just fall in place just doesn't have any historical precedent -- the truth is that the marriage/military agenda comes at the cost of everything else.

Mattilda, besides ENDA, DADT, DOMA what are our broader agendas? As an LGBT person I see that these along with Hate Crimes legislation brings us to a place in America where we can be part of the larger society without fear of oppresion and violence. Now Im no polyanna and realize even with these passed (eventually) things will happen and Obama signing a document may not stop someone with a bat, but it is a beginning. These are milestones for our movement and our people.

I don't understand all of your rage at your own kind??I've seen your pictures and you seem to be just as privledged as the next white gay person so whats the deal???

Midtowner, I will quote from the end of this roundtable, since I think the other contributors do a great job about describing a broader agenda:

"But really -- we need to be able to choose our own families and who visits us in the hospital and who shares our assets and who makes decisions for us, whether we are officially single or partnered. And gender is defined by us too, not by presentation but how we define our own identities. Sexual liberation and freedom and places to fuck without being policed. Housing. Healthcare. Social services. Protection for the environment.

HG: The last time I checked -- the nuclear family model -- was a disaster! Enough already. The gay rights movement needs to divorce marriage and pull it together. The system is broken, these institutions are failing, why are people so set on shoring them up? Let's focus on ending capitalism, abolishing prison, ending militarism, ensuring immigrant rights, clean air, great food, love, equality, interdependence, independence, autonomy, non-hierarchical structures, and most importantly the universal reclamation of all land and water as public property.

YN: And, of course, the abolition of the prison industrial complex, the end of the illusion that more punishment and enhanced penalties in the form of hate crimes legislation will benefit anyone, safety for young queers who are beaten and/or raped by families and have nowhere to go, intergenerational sex that's not immediately stigmatized as pedophilia, an end to sex offender laws that do nothing to end the abuse of children but only add to the coffers of the prison industrial complex, an end to the death penalty, an end to the idea that life without parole is an acceptable alternative, queer sex in public without paying a fee in a bathhouse and without being harassed, jailed, or beaten for it, an immigration rights movement that acknowledges that it's a crisis of labor, not about "families" or spousal partners, an end to the disappearance and/or deportation of undocumented people, and oh, I could go on.

There's this popular line going around about how gay marriage is the rising tide that will lift all boats. But if we are to use a seafaring metaphor, it might be more apt to call it a Titanic, doomed to crash into an iceberg and take the rest of us down."

Oh -- and as far as my own privilege, in no way am I attempting to deny various privileges (race, class, etc.) that I have been given. What I'm trying to point out is what the gay establishment is doing with the privileges that it has accrued -- policing the borders and creating a shiny, happy, Gaylandia that hides behind the rainbow flag in order to further (and hide) hideous agendas of gentrification, militarism, exploitation, etc.

The problem is not necessarily privilege, but what you do with it.

Mattilda, these agendas, while some of them may be valid are NOT part of the LGBT agenda. Sorry but we are not the end all and be all of movements.

This statement when assigned to the LGBT movement bothers me:

"Let's focus on ending capitalism, abolishing prison, ending militarism, ensuring immigrant rights, clean air, great food, love, equality, interdependence, independence, autonomy, non-hierarchical structures, and most importantly the universal reclamation of all land and water as public property."

These are progressive statements and goals and should not be part of the LGBT Agenda. You can be part of several cultural and human rights agendas and movements but when your advocating a complete overhaul of everything with no clear plan on how to get the people to do it you wind up with nothing but an angry bitter blog post.

Arent you glad about Hate Crimes legislation? It was a victory and one a long time coming.

Midtowner, that is exactly our problem with the "LGBT agenda" -- its narrow focus on access to privilege instead of structural change. So I certainly agree with you that these issues are not part of the assimilationist "LGBT agenda," and that is, in fact, the problem!

As far as hate crimes legislation, no, I am not happy about putting more money and power in the hands of the notoriously vicious, exploitative, racist, classist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, misogynist (and on and on) "legal" system. No, enhanced sentencing does not do anything to prevent violence against queers (or anyone else).

[Falls off chair, laughing, for second time this evening]

Oh, no, OMG, I just saw this:

"These are progressive statements and goals and should not be part of the LGBT Agenda."

Midtowner,

I admire your honesty - and wish all the other so-called progressives and so-called lefties in the gay movement would be as honest. Seriously.

Well, this is historic. We finally have someone in the gay rights "movement" who admits they want no part of a progressive/left agenda. This is going to be part of my notable quotes section on my website. I've been explaining to gays and straights that being gay does not automatically mean that one is a progressive/lefty/even a liberal, and few can actually wrap their heads around that. So, this helps, thanks!

Mattilda, these agendas, while some of them may be valid are NOT part of the LGBT agenda. Sorry but we are not the end all and be all of movements.

We may not be the end all of all movements at this time, but why couldn't (and, for that matter, why shouldn't) we be? Our movement can be as expansive as we wish it; all it would take is to broaden our vision of what the movement means.

Queers are nothing more than tourists in the gay movement. Sitting around, pontificating, changing nothing, and striking postmodern theatrical poses to prove that one's superiority is useless. Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and probably most of all Transgender people have a huge number of real day to day issues in living our lives and this childlike "queer" posturing gets in the way.

No, I'm not adopting a "queer". Self centered children can grow out of it. Posing whinging adults don't. See above article.

And cut this racist crap of mocking our children. What precisely is it about brown children that offends you so much?

Kevin, the critique of the colonial drive to "save" children from deprivation is not a critique of the children, it's a critique of the (gay) consumerism that fuels the transnational adoption industry without challenging the viciousness of corporate/governmental profiteering that causes children to be deprived in the first place.

Were it merely critique, it should have been offered as such. Perhaps you thought it was witty, perverse and sarcastic but it's none of those. As it stands, it is vile, racist mockery of children and women with HIV. It's revolting that it was published.

This is the strategy of the Christian and the Gay Right: When you have no valid response, resort to calling everything racist/negative.

"As it stands, it is vile, racist mockery of children and women with HIV. It's revolting that it was published." Right, because there's nothing racist about the way children from Malawi or Guatemala are treated as cute accessories by many adoptive parents, including the celebrities we all love to fetishise.

There is nothing about this piece that can NOT be read as critique, starting with the title itself. I encourage you to read Mattilda's response to you, again.

No, Yasmin, you don't get out of it by hurling an accusation that I am a Christianist or a rightist. Your derisive mockery of African women dying of HIV and gay couples in intercultural families is racism, pure and simple. You chose the tone, you chose the words, you seem to think it's funny. Own or disown it but don't throw it on others.

Dear Kevin,

Making up material does not score you any points. Cheap ones, flim-flammy ones, ones that belong on the Rush Limbaugh show, yes. But not very good ones. Let me see if I have this right: *You* accuse me/us of being racist and of mocking women with HIV; I challenge you to prove that. You then turn around and accuse me of hurling accusations.

I just wanted to be sure I had all the contradictions down. My head's whirling already.

I'm a gay adoptive parent of a black child, and I support what the authors are saying here. Kevin, you need to educate yourself about the complicated nature of transnational adoption (or any adoption, for that matter). It's not all shiny happy. No, these writers haven't gone in depth into anything but they're bringing up real issues. I'll put it this way:
It is far far more racist to NOT question the wide-scale adoption of dark-skinned children by white people (gay or otherwise) than it is TO question it.

Some "roundtable"! Seems like everyone you handpicked has the same self-congratulatory pseudo-radical views as you. It reads as self-parody.

Good for maximum rock'n'roll for having a queer issue. Too bad they chose you.

Haven't read too many roundtables lately, have you, K?

I think condescending posts like this are counterproductive to ally building...Let's face it, if we can't even mobilize ourselves, we're sure as hell not going to get anywhere policy-wise.

I honestly had to stop half-way-through. I keep saying this, so I'll say it again...I want you to use your political capital to join my struggle, and I'll use mine to join with you...but if you're just going to be rude and not willing to teach me about your struggle so I'm educated enough to speak about it, I'm going to have trouble relaying it to someone else.

As the wise Cordelia Chase said to Buffy at the beginning of season 2, "Get over it. Look deep inside, spank your inner moppet, but get over it." Maybe then you'll stop alienating potential allies who really do care but really don't feel like being put down.

"Ally" building is counterproductive unless it actually includes an exploration of all disagreements and a challenge to the hypocrisy of a "community" that consistently prioritizes the most privileged while fucking over everyone else.

Mattilda's been as smart as always with the responses but, TonyK, I, as an ardent Buffy fan, can't let you get away with leaving out the essential information related to that quote.

First, here's the bit you left out, which precedes the words you quoted: "But you have saved the world on occasion..."

Second, um, Cordy is hardly the wise one of the group. She only really gets out of her shallowness somewhere towards the end of season 1 of Angel (and, by then, had long disappeared from Buffy). Again, see the first point above. Who saved the world? Not Cordelia, but Buffy. And her motley crew of extremely queer (as in very transgressive in their bonds of affection and friendship, and in not being defined by heteronormativity) friends. Funny that you'd choose one of the *queerest* (and best, IMHO) shows to make your point.

It isn't the end of the queer world...it just means that we can't count on the mainstream of the gay movement for any assistance in our activism, at least not while marriage is sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Even if said activism benefits them just as much as it benefits us...

After same-sex marriage goes through? Probably not likely that we'll get any help from most of the mainstream then, either; they've tied themselves so tightly to marriage that they their political organizations won't have any reason to exist once they've gotten their wedding cake.

True, true, true. In Connecticut the largest lgbt group Love Makes A Family has closed its doors after geting the right to marry. Memeism at its best. Now we have what we want goodbye. Struggle on boys and girls.

Great roundtable job all of you. Thanks for this.

Thanks, Richard, and especially for reminding us of Love Makes a Family - that's indeed a great example.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 6, 2009 9:07 AM

Richard, could that have anything to do with them having no more $$$$$

For the benefit of our readers who actually read, let me emphasise that Love Makes a Family was very clear that it was disbanding because it saw its ONLY goal as marriage, not because of any financial problems. You can read about it here:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/04/love_makes_a_familybut_only_through_marr.php

And Robert, stop sending me personal e-mails to my e-mail address. Do that one more time and I WILL take action, understand? Get help, dude.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 7, 2009 8:28 PM

Copying you an argument (through your Bilerico email address) I gave AGAINST the proposition that homeless and jobless people should not be given cellphones so that they can both seek a job and NOT MISS a chance to go to a new job at the same time hardly counts as a personal communication.

It was no more, no less than my hope that you come to understand that doing direct good for people, even in smallest ways, far out distances theoretical pie in the sky arguments.

I also hoped that by putting a very human face upon why I feel as I feel toward anyone down on their luck you might choose to reflect and not make the types of statements you have made below about me in future. It was an indirect appeal to your "better self." I know she is in there somewhere Ms Nair. Get some rest and take good care of yourself.

Im gonna stick with being Gay...this Queer thing is so dreadful...you've got to hate everything and fight against everyone...Lets hope this fad ends soon...

Midtowner,

We're here, we're queer, and we're here to stay. Come join us; you know you secretly want to...

No thanks Yasmin, I enjoy my life, love my cocktail parties, HRC, gay pride events, plan on getting married and having a good ole time. You guys keep on raging, we will keep on bringing change thats affects us all...you can thank us later... Hugs

[Falls off chair while laughing]

Midtowner,

[tries to stop giggling]

Do you realise how much you sound like a Stepford Wife? Please tell me your first line is a joke..

As for thanking/calling, feel free to call *me* the next time one of "your" kind gets picked up by cops for "public indecency/kissing while gay" or any one of the million and one ways in which you can and will get harassed just because society will never stand for you to deviate from the norm (and you will never be normal enough). Your marriage, your cocktail parties, your HRC - none of them will save you. The change you think you see is a mirage, baby; your normalcy is a trap.

Rage on my friends going to bed...Hugs!!!!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 2, 2009 9:59 PM

Mattilda! Such a "feel good post" :)

No one can validate anyone else, or their life, for them. People have to do this for themselves. Your issues are less about Gay Civil Rights and more about worldwide societal, military, and economic change that you and your "merry band" are powerless to change or modify.

Hope you sell some magazines! (you are giving them away right? You would not want to make money or anything as that would be capitalist) By the way listening to the group of you was like a regurgitation of what fell out of favor in the 1960's.

You are all very nostalgic.

Robert, I love this idea that people actually get paid for writing for magazines -- in fact, I maximumrocknroll no one gets paid at all -- it's actually their policy.

And I don't know of any magazine where people actually get paid by the amount of copies it sells -- other than the publishers, of course. But, one can keep dreaming, I imagine... Feel free to send me a check :)

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 3, 2009 9:03 PM

I love the idea that, while you fashion yourself as the queer Abbie Hoffman you pretend to do so for nothing by altruistic reasons.

This is sooooo old!

What about the next book sales target. Are you suggesting that the publisher, printers, distribution of this San Fran rag do so without pay? Link us some proof of this please.

Robert,

Since you're someone who first retired to Palm Beach county and now lives in a condominium in Thailand (you've written about your condo)

http://www.bilerico.com/contributors/robert_ganshorn/

I don't expect you to get the ways in which writers struggle to make a living, and I also don't expect you to understand that a lot of us are committed to enough to our politics to do work for free.

But I do have a question for you. As a former and sometimes occasional contributor to Bilerico.com, has it never struck you that...you've never been paid for your work? Because if you *are*, Bil, Jerame, and Alex have some explaining to do! (guys, you know I'm joking) ...As I understand it, they make just enough to pay for operating expenses and a little to compensate for some labour, but not much more. This, despite the countless hours of labour they put into making sure this site runs smoothly.

So, Robert, if working for no pay makes Mattilda an Abbie Hoffman, what does that make you? Or, perhaps, you have so much money that you didn't even have to notice that you haven't received a cent for your work here? Let me guess - you did it for altruistic purposes? Or, let me guess, the fame and fortune you knew you'd reap from appearing on Bilerico?

I also don't expect you to understand how indie publishing works, and that whatever money such publications make goes either to the writers (though not at rocknroll) or to covering the basic expenses. But I do know this: None of us need to justify or prove anything to you. You want proof that Maximum has the pay structure we say it does? Go do your own research, find out that we're lying, go expose us. Hey, you've got your own unpaid blog here - use it to show the world what craven liars we are.

This post isn't about MRR's operating structure, and you're not going to hijack the thread here. The only reason I tackle your point is to first make sure that readers understand the nature of the zine and that they also understand the patent hypocrisy of your question.

Btw, have you even ever seen a copy of the magazine? It's neither slick nor colourful, but it's probably the world's oldest punk zine, with tons of material in every issue, and has a cadre of extremely loyal set of readers world-wide who have supported it for over twenty years. Again, just for readers who might be curious. Calling it a rag won't make it or its influence go away and, I suspect, the editors and publishers would be pretty proud to have you diss them in that way.

Oh, and by the way, about the "book sales target," by which I assume you mean the contracts all of us hope for: please don't make us laugh so hard!

Yes, Robert, presses like Seal and AKPress and all the others our kind write for offer us million-dollar contracts like Sarah Palin's. THAT'S the real reason we write for MRR! You've found us out. Book sales are entirely a different matter, and I don't know how you connect them to this piece. But you can carry on, as I'm sure you will, Robert.

Have a lovely night/day.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 4, 2009 10:51 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

And, from here on, Robert, if you are going to comment, come up with responses that actually address the roundtable discussion. I know, from past experience, that you love to hijack threads and pontificate on your life experience. But hijacking won't work here, so please say something relevant to the discussion. And don't keep repeating your pet canards about how all of us writers are rolling in money.

[stifles urge to laugh again]

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 9:03 AM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 9:45 AM

You have done all this workup on me Jasmin and you are suggesting that I.don't.have.a.life? I make a comment every other day and you make twelve a day and I don't have a life?

By her own words is she condemned!

Now it is my turn to fall off the stool!

Darling,

You've been tailing me ever since I started writing for Bilerico, and you have been dropping your personal information - and your munificence as the white man who will teach the silly brown girl the meaning of life - ALL that time.

Please, anyone who reads Bilerico regularly knows the details of your life. Think about that.

Now, get back to topic.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 7, 2009 8:15 PM

More precisely, I have written about Thailand.

A few weeks ago, a commenter on Joe.My.God referred to this blog as " BILE rico" because of the frequent puerile , sophomoric , nasty posts like this one. I agree with Midtowner who is happy being gay, and fed up with the so-called queer movement. I really think that Nerissa hit the nail on the head by saying that you don't hear the people in the movement who are actually DOING something bashing other organizations or causes. They diligently work on their issues, and don't bad mouth others, and whether you admit it or not, there has been immense progress for all of us not in the sexual mainstream.
Part of the problem is that Mattilda and Yasmin speak with an omniscient arrogance, totally unacknowledging the work of those who came before them, who actually DID something for gay rights. I refer to Franklin Kameny, Larry Kramer, Harvey Milk, Randy Shilts, Harry Hay, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon and many more. All these trailblazers found it necessary to learn how to work with others, to organize, and to engage hetero mainstream America. These queers in Mattilda's roundtable call for the destruction of most of American society - capitalism, the family, marriage,the legal system, religion, etc. This destruction is NOT the gay agenda. It is Mattilda's and Yasmin's agenda. You are calling for immigration reform. Well, the Obama administration lifted the ban on HIV travel to the USA. Congress is working with HRC supported immigration reform that will benefit gays and lesbians, recognizing foreign partners of gays and lesbians to qualify for visas (and eventually permanent residency and citizenship). Yasmin has denounced this in a previous post. You are just too visious - can't even acknowledge the success of hate crimes legislation being passed.
The roundtable bunch is demanding the right to cling to their victimhood forever, revel in their minority within a minority of a minority status, and will go to any extreme to make sure that not only do they not fit in, but that no one will want them. Quite a lot of bile served up in that roundtable.

Pete, let's try a different list:

How about Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Bo Brown, Angela Davis, Sarah Schulman, David Wojnarowicz, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Patrick Califia, Carol Queen, Sylvia Rivera, Bob Kohler, Marsha P. Johnson, Samuel Delany, Leslie Feinberg, Laura Whitehorn, Kate Bornstein, Martin Duberman, and so many unremembered queens, butches, trannies, homo hookers, perverts, femmes, faeries, faggots, bitches and dagger dominatrix divas standing up to the cops, fighting for our lives, and fighting for space in the world to challenge all hierarchies...

whoops! i stopped reading and started singing, then dancing. hot. topic. is the way that we...

much love, thanks for being here.

Let's see if I have this right - gay men and lesbians insist that people be locked up for life or worse because, damn it, gays and lesbians are the LAST persecuted minority and we DESERVE to be recognised as victims. And we insist on holding signs like "Black is the new gay" in order to prove.

And, yet, mysteriously, those who argue AGAINST hate crimes legislation - and the appropriating of other historical struggles - and point out that HCL has not historically helped to prevent or end hate and that we need to tap into alternative structures to deal with violence are the ones who claim victimhood?

Good luck untying that little knot, Pete.

Thank you! I needed this. Ahhh... a breath of fresh air.

Max, thank you so much for saying so -- we need some support over here in the comments :)

There’s an all important question not posed in this discussion, but which has to be addressed.

How does the left lead?

Do we lead by rejecting the fight for same sex marriage rights because marriage is not, to put it mildly, a very good way of partnering? That's self isolating. Or do we lead by supporting the right to marriage equality while trying to redirect the movement towards a socialist program.

The fights for an end to employment, income and housing discrimination and hate crimes/hate speech are not something that will ever be granted by a government that depends on homohating, racism, union busting and misogyny to maximize profits and divide and rule. The struggles to end discrimination are the engines that will drive the fight for socialism.

Being part of the left means more than critiquing marriage it means converting activists enraged by Prop 8 struggle to the wider struggle for full equality.

It means more than opposing hate crimes. We have to formulate a program to suppress the cults, end their tax breaks and jail them when their hate speech leads to criminal attacks on us. It means exposing the role of the police, prosecutors and judges who perpetrate hate crimes and demanding their arrest and indictment. Check out "Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay and Transgender People in the U.S." dealing with the crimes that US police, prosecutors and judges perpetrate against GLBT folks" linked to at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=9DEF4263FC2E35CA80256FE7004FE4C0

It means getting into unions and organizing LGBT working people into a powerful force that can build unions and make them allies and instruments of our fight for equality.

It means more than criticizing the unprincipled prowar stances of SLDN, a front for the Democrats, and figures like Choi. It means building the antiwar movement and supporting two of the key elements that will end it, the GI antiwar movement and the Iraqi workers federation.
• Iraq Veterans Against the War http://www.ivaw.org/
• In Iraq US troops are being drawn back into the fighting in Kirkuk, always a hotbed of insurgency and in Baghdad and Basra soldiers and police of the quisling pro-US government and are beginning to open fire on union demonstrators of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, just as we said they would. http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org

In short the left will lead by having a mass action perspective and advocating political ideas that propel the movement to the necessity for fundamental change. It’ll lead by recognizing that the Democrats are an obstacle to progress, that the war has to end on our terms and that unions are the heavy infantry of social change.

At first, I thought this would fall along the lines of the some of the fascinating debates that took place just after Stonewall, i.e. between the gay liberals ("we are just like you") and the gay radicals (e.g. "fuck patriarchy.") This roundtable begins sort of that way, as an intriguing discussion on some premises I agree with. Yes, I agree, the obsession with marriage masks all the other problems and lulls LGBT people into complacency. And yes, focusing on making LGBT people all act like rich, white, married straight folks (i.e. latent racism and heternormativity) is, at the very least, something eveyrone should recognize is happening. But then this discussion degrades rapidly into what seems to me to be a deeply nihilistic rant against not just the U.S. military-industrial complex and seemingly-colonial foreign policy (understandable) but against the HRC, GLAAD, NGLTF, Lambda Legal, basically AGAINST almost all gay rights organizations? Why? Because they're not fighting for the right to (and this is mentioned here) have queer sex in public?! Really? How is this kind of non-constructive, over-the-top venting useful? Somebody help me here.

If this is what the political label "Queer" means, then I respectfully disagree, and am gay. m n

Rullah, your historicizing of the debate is dead-on, and yes yes, the point of this roundtable is that the national gay organizations are, in fact, supporting the same structural problems rather than challenging them -- in other words, by aligning themselves so clearly in the "we're just like you" camp, they are furthering the status quo rather than creating more space. And yes, of course they should be fighting for the right to sex in public, as well as everything else the participants in this roundtable advocate.

The question that remains unanswered (to the best of my knowledge) by the queer roundtable participants is the one Midtowner raises: What is inherently "left" or "radical" about being LGBT? The underlying assumption that we should be, because, after all, we're gay, is rarely given the attention it deserves.

Those on the left who are also queer have a particular analysis of queer culture and politics that aligns "left" and "gay," but that analysis is rarely shared with those who don't already agree. Your screeds would be far more persuasive if you did the harder, more basic work, of trying to actually convince your audience of your analysis in the first place. That would be a discussion worth reading, because it would be a discussion rather than a rant.

Diane,

Read my response to Midtowner above where I write:

"I've been explaining to gays and straights that being gay does not automatically mean that one is a progressive/lefty/even a liberal, and few can actually wrap their heads around that."

You won't find a shred of evidence in the roundtable that any of us actually *expect* that gays and lesbians should be automatically on the left. This is not a roundtable about original sin, about asserting that gays and lesbians need to return to some imagined utopian leftist past, even if and when we do acknowledge that the "movement" used to be a lot more on the left.

It's been my experience that those on the gay right are most likely to dismiss these critiques as rants and screeds; a rant/screed, for you, is analysis to which you can't hold a candle. I notice that not one of you has managed to deny what we've said, and have only been able to go after us with outright lies about our supposed "racism" and our supposed vilification of HIV-positive women or by spluttering about the our *rhetoric* as screed or rant-like.

I'm glad you, like Midtowner, have the courage to admit where you stand, on the right. I wish more of the so-called left/progressive gays would do the same.

queerartist | November 5, 2009 4:09 PM

I wonder if the shit hits the fan will the gays on the right turn on the gays on the left and give us over to the right wing creeps?

I will bet you a ten spot they will.

LOL, Richard,

I think they're already at it :-) And sometimes, it's hard to see the distinctions between the Rights, isn't it? Proving that two Rights can make one giant Wrong!

Oh, I kill me...

Reading through the response to the criticism of the post only further solidifies the view that "queers" are nothing more than posers. Their relationship to the LGBT political movement is merely exploitative, a platform to launch a very different agenda.

Gainsaying is not discourse. There are very real problems facing LGBT people and dismissing these problems as somehow the frivolous concerns of the wealthy and powerful and asserting without evidence that pursuing an agenda of full equality somehow equates to supporting unjust imprisonment, colonial exploitation, and the others sins listed adds nothing. It is dishonest.

Now the tripping nonsense of the "queers" would be easily dismissed except for the fact that it actively detracts from the real efforts by trivializing these efforts. I really do wish the "queers" would go find another platform and leave the LGBT community alone.

Whereas you are really inviting discourse with claims like "Queers are nothing more than tourists in the gay movement," "'queers' are nothing more than posers," "I really do wish the "queers" would go find another platform and leave the LGBT community alone."

You're right, gainsaying is not discourse. Maybe now's the time to re-examine some of your own strategies.

I think it's foolish to expect the gay rights struggle to take on capitalism, militarism and all the other "structural issues" that people may disagree with.

We have a hard enough time making progress on issues affecting the LGBTQAA community.

I'm bothered by Mattilda, Yasmin and the other roundtable participants implying that gays should be held to a different standard than other groups of people when it comes to looking after their interests.

Chris Hedges wrote an article last week essentially saying gays should have rejected the hate crimes legislation because it was part of the war funding bill. I think that was ignorant at best, and more likely homophobic.

No one is *expecting* the gay rights struggle to take on capitalism and militarism and everything else you point out.

We're simply pointing out that the "movement" (I can't conceive of something that wants so much privilege as any kind of struggle) is in fact PART of capitalism and militarism.

What irks so many gays and lesbians about this piece and others like it is the fact that we've exposed the "movement" for what it is: a capitulation to the worst neoliberal impulses around power and greed and far from anything progressive/left.

As for Anthony's point about Chris Hedges, ah, yes, that old tactic - calling anyone who criticises anything gay-related "homophobic." It's nearly the end of the first decade of the 21st century, Anthony, and discourse has become a lot more complex than that. The passage of the Shepard bill does not mean that you now have the right to willy-nilly paint any criticism as automatically homophobic. Cheap points, Anthony, cheap points. Engage with his arguments if you can, but don't just dismiss a nuanced and complicated article as "homophobic" just because you don't like what he says.

And if anyone is curious, here's Hedge's piece:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/10/26-0

Yasmin, you write,

No one is *expecting* the gay rights struggle to take on capitalism and militarism and everything else you point out.

We're simply pointing out that the "movement" (I can't conceive of something that wants so much privilege as any kind of struggle) is in fact PART of capitalism and militarism.

If this were your true intention, then your point would simply be banal. Right, most (you'll probably say "all," but I like to hedge my bets on the off chance I don't know them all) gay rights groups aren't radical. So what?

If your point is not to persuade gay folks to be more radical, or to radically re-vision their analyses of politics and oppression and capitalism, or to evoke some other kind of change, what exactly is your point in repeating the same basic charge over and over again? Because the answer given by so many -- nope, never claimed to be all that radical, just want a piece of the pie -- is a pretty sufficient response to the banal point you say you're trying to make.

But the truth is, you do want gay folks to embrace your analysis, as enunciated in both your final contribution to the roundtable and Hilary Goldberg's. If you want that entreaty to be taken seriously, give people a reason to buy into your analysis. Persuade them. Merely attacking the status quo isn't all that persuasive. It's the lack of any attempt at persuasion that makes your writing a "rant" or a "screed," not the underlying analysis. At base, I agree with much of your overarching analysis. I just don't think you've been particularly convincing in the way you convey it to those who don't already agree with you.

Diane,

I've been around here long enough to not buy your argument that, at base, you do agree with much of my analysis. You're very lawyerly about how you phrase matters, but the truth is, and you know it perfectly well, that, no, "the answer given by so many -- nope, never claimed to be all that radical, just want a piece of the pie -- is a pretty sufficient response to the banal point you say you're trying to make" is not the answer we get either from the orgs or from individuals.

You know as well as I do that the gay movement has gained the traction that it has precisely because it has always claimed that its causes are progressive/leftist/liberal. If the claiming of the pie piece were all it offered, the Right would have embraced it long ago. The claiming of the pie, in neoliberal America, is in fact today seen as a progressive matter - that's why neoliberalism works so well, it's learnt how to reformulate conservatism as progressive politics.

Which, Diane, as you know perfectly well, is our point. And, as you know only too well, because your staid lawyerly tone does not mask the rhetorical games you play here, the roundtable is precisely that, a roundtable. This isn't exactly an attempt to persuade people to march or to vote on a referendum; it's a roundtable discussion, and its tone was clearly marked by Mattilda at the start. It's part satire and part wake-up call, and it's succeeded as such, given the number of people like you who've shown up and tried to undermine its points or pretend that you, really, really agree with us - but you just wish we'd say something entirely different.

Frankly, I have more respect for people like Rullah below who will openly disagree and demand clarifications than I have for people like you and the unctuous normades below who pretend that you're actually sympathetic to "us" (not that we were looking for sympathy) and then begin to try to dismantle arguments by positing what isn't there. I have no doubt that you'll have some equally cleverly worded lawyerly response to this. But please, I've seen enough Trojan Horses to be able to run my own riding stables at this point.

It seems very easy for you to engage in all sorts of ad hominem attacks, but very difficult for you to put together a cogent argument. You do more harm to your cause than anybody on the right possibly could.

Diane,

Your transparency is blinding. You keep insisting that we offer no arguments, and yet you've shown no evidence of your own (but you have revealed that you're on the right, which is useful) or that you really care to. And, at any rate, please stop pretending that you don't understand the nature of a roundtable discussion. But just in case, I'll repeat what I've already said to you:

"It's part satire and part wake-up call, and it's succeeded as such, given the number of people like you who've shown up and tried to undermine its points or pretend that you, really, really agree with us - but you just wish we'd say something entirely different."

And, please, enough with the holier-than-thou tone - it's tired already and isn't working to shame me into submission.

You can keep at it all night, but your rhetorical strategies and poor politics are wearing thin. Following mykill's example below, this is over. The shark is fed.

This post illustrates with breathtaking precision the tendency of the people in this roundtable (and the far left in general) to exalt ideology over practicality and to arrogantly disregard and invalidate the real concerns of real people. It's amazing to see just how wrapped up in your own little world you really are.

The whole reason why there's a push for same-sex marriage and letting gays serve in the military is that, thanks to our ability to have relationships without fear of arrest, job loss or ostracization (at least in a growing portion of the country), a lot of us can now settle down and build homes together. This means we can start thinking about things like building homes together, sharing assets and even adopting kids. Settling down also has a tendency to alter one's political views and cause the embrace political views that favor the expansion of one's ability to settle down and stay that way.

But such matters are meaningless to you people. You're against war and neo-colonialism, and so you're against efforts to repeal DADT, as if not repealing it will bring us closer to world peace, with no thought of those men and women in the military who have to stay in the closet for fear of discharge or harassment. You're against marriage as an institution, and so you're against efforts to allow same-sex couples to participate in it, with no thought of the huge economic and legal disadvantage caused by being unable to participate in an institution that straight people take for granted and that, I regret to inform you, will not disappear or become less socially or legally significant any time soon. You're against the "prison-industrial complex," and so you're against including GLBT people in hate-crime laws, with no thought of the tremendous unfairness of being excluded from them thanks to the efforts of the Christian right.

You're completely wrapped up in your own little ideological world, with no grasp of reality.

You can dismiss "assimilationism" if you want, but it's what happens when people historically treated as outcasts force an unfair society to treat them as equals. "Assimilationism" is the same reason why we have, for example, black people who are middle class, Republican and living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Society is always going to exist, and the best one can do is work to make it better, but you're going to spend the rest of your lives in this bitter, futile struggle to destroy society and replace it with the one of your naive, unrealistic, puerile fantasies. Well, good luck with that.

Thanks, Alaric, for showing that the participants in the roundtable are hardly the ones on a rant.

And, oh, such lovely reductionist anthropology! Levi-Strauss, who died today at a 100, is rolling at this:

""Assimilationism" is the same reason why we have, for example, black people who are middle class, Republican and living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."

Not that there's anything condescending about that, no.

Of course, in the spirit of comments on bilerico, where people eventually grasp some form of identity marker to justify their rants, you'll probably tell me that you *are* in fact black, and can make such statements with impunity. Although I've had the pleasure of your company on every one of my blogs (and your words, like Drake's above are always the same), I can't remember if you've ever said anything about your own racial/ethnic community.

Not that it really matters. A rant is still a rant.


Nice work taking my "assimilationism" comment way the fuck out of context. But yeah, making society inclusive and celebrating its becoming more equitable instead of telling historically oppressed people they should embrace and perpetuate their own marginalization is just so condescending. Right...

This is too amusing to pass up:

Alaric, this is the exact same thing you also do on other posts: You become really angry when someone points out the problems with what you write, and then claim that your words are being taken out context.

If you don't like the holes you find yourself in, stop digging them in the first place.

Changing your terminology to "historically oppressed people" isn't helping your case.


Well, Yasmin, if the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s had taken your advice, there's no way in hell there would be Barack Obama in office and a growing black middle class today, and gay rights would be in a similar situation. That's because, as Pete suggested above, you and people like you seem to revel in always being outsiders and having something for which to feel sorry for yourselves.

My point is this: The only way to be treated equally in society is to become a part of it and force it to accept you as an equal on an institutional level despite whatever differences in sexual orientation, skin color, culture, etc. you might have from the majority of its members.

But if you deliberately seek to be an outcast, then you'll be treated as such, and if you're hostile to and bent on destroying or radically altering the rest of society and its institutions to suit your own peculiar tastes, then you probably won't get too far.

I think it's important to remember the critiques of leftist/progressive/transformative/radical, etc. Queer folks are not abstract and ideological, they are based upon individuals' everyday and very real (btw -- fun exercise: type the word 'real' into your browsers find feature while perusing this post) experiences of oppression -- poverty, unemployment and poor working conditions/workplace violations, lack of access to healthcare, homelessness, police violence and harassment, etc. These are not abstract experiences, and all affect Queers in particular ways. Same with hate crimes legislation -- hate crimes legislation does not discriminate between privileged and marginalized groups, and the folks getting harsher sentences, etc. are the same folks who are already disproportionately policed and incarcerated -- people of color, Queer folks, etc. Likewise, folks are not opposed to the marriage agenda because of some abstract criticism of "normalcy" (or at least not exclusively b/c of discomfort w/ so-called normativity), but because making benefits dependent upon one's relationship status screws a lot of people over in tangible ways (ie the emphasis on marriage in what remains of public assistance). The question isn't whether we care abt the practical realities of people's lives, but rather which lives we care about, and the mainstream LGBT movement has made it very clear they do not care abt the lives of poor LGBT folks, LGBT folks of color, single immigrant LGBT folks, homeless LGBT folks, incarcerated LGBT folks, etc.

Tim,

Thanks for your analysis which is spot-on. I especially like this bit: "Likewise, folks are not opposed to the marriage agenda because of some abstract criticism of "normalcy" (or at least not exclusively b/c of discomfort w/ so-called normativity), but because making benefits dependent upon one's relationship status screws a lot of people over in tangible ways (ie the emphasis on marriage in what remains of public assistance)."

I think that's the point we've been trying to make and I'll be the first to say that not all radical queers have been good about making it. Too often, some - and they happen to be among the most vocal/sexy/visible among us - only harp on "normalcy" without making the connections between normalisation/normalcy and the economic system which benefits that normalcy. Like, as you point out, in the granting - or withholding - of specific benefits through the structure of marriage.

I think our task is two-fold, to get beyond the more, frankly, simplistic critique of normalcy that we've been mired in and then to show how much more insidious marriage is, as a neoliberal structure that grants both rights and privileges through the structure of marriage, a structure which is becoming an increasingly mandatory "choice."

xerxes rastafarian | November 3, 2009 12:49 PM


I had to look at my calendar when I read this post - I thought that it was an April Fool's edition of Bilerico. This type of post mocks what a serious discussion of the Gay Agenda really is. Mattilda and Yasmin are really lucky that their lives are evidently so cushy, that they do not need to have real world concerns, like gay-bashing, keeping a foreign lover in the United States, getting married when the time is right, job bias, etc.

Um, xerxes,

It should be amply clear but I'll just make it more so: We *are* mocking the Gay Agenda. Your comment tells me that we have succeeded, spectacularly.

[Takes a bow]

"Many of us grew up experiencing the lovely embrace of marriage or its aftermath, so we, and most queers, certainly know a lot about how marriage is, and has always been a central place for beating up, raping and abusing women, children, queers, and transpeople."

I'm sorry this is your experience. It seems to have had quite an effect on you.
It might be engaging to comment further on your post(s)(particularly the dehumanized 'retro' writing styleindustrialcomplex)...
but I am off to engage in some heteronormativity-phone banking to GOTV in Maine.

Hope you find happiness. I do wish you didn't fit right into the stereotype image of the "unhappy homosexual"...because you have a lot of energy and conviction, and you could really be helpful. But for now, I am not aware of a movement that needs someone who is good at organizing sassy 'roundtables...

I think modern gay identity as we know it is definitely a product of capitalism, can't disagree with you there.

As far as my cheap points against Hedges, I am not seeing people with "complex" interpretations of modern politics or culture putting much effort into gay rights. Perhaps they are doing things behind the scenes, but mostly I see them complaining.

Right.... because you've done so much to engage with "them," judging by the tenor of your comments here. I think Fred's response to Kevin, above, is particularly apt.

And normades,

Your unctuous tone, which reminds of the best Peter Lorre performances, would be hilarious if it weren't also so unfortunate that, even after all these decades, even gays/lesbians can do no more than reiterate the worst of psychobabble about "unhappy homosexuals." What you did right there is no different than what the ex-gay movement does, it's no different than what the psychiatrists in the 1950s did with gays they deemed fit for correction.

I have no doubt that you, like Alaric above, will insist that your unctuous comment is being taken out of context or misinterpreted. But make no mistake: Whether or not you're gay, your mode of attack, to decide that we're simply a group of unhappy pathetic queers whose critique is simply a way to patch up the holes in our existence, is nothing less than repulsive. And you're no better than the worst of the extreme right-wingers who would like to "cure" us.

Again, let me repeat: None of you have been able to do more than repeat your cheapest points.

As for the benefits of organising sassy roundtables, well, Anthony, look around you. Don't you think certain parts of this movement would be much less fractured if you guys at least put your heads together and actually discussed your actions before launching them? And if you actually exercised your powers of persuasion, you would actually be able write some kind of rebuttal of Hedges instead of resorting to the cheap and tacky charge of "homophobia."

The days of ranting about your meaningless "rights" and "equality" are over, my dears, especially in these economic times where you better be prepared to acknowledge that the massive inequality we all face can not be staved off with 1990s style identity politics.

Which is why you're all so anxious to keep showing up here in your cheap attempts to pillory us for imagined sins.


Yasmin is starting to sound alot like Sarah Palin, "The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media tried to bring down a Rising Star". They both attack Obama and the democrats too.

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OMG Drake your right!!! it's the same tactic. The Elite Media, the Elite White Gay guy...omg Yasmin and Mattilda must have copied her play book
Always bashing the rich gay people, the elite, the HRC'ers wow...this is rich.


[Stands up, brushes chalk dust from hair and skirt. Looks back at all the sleeping kindergartners and contemplates telling Drake and Midtowner and friends to put their heads back down for their naps. Shrugs and decides against it because some children should be their parents' problems, not hers. Smiles to think of how cranky they will be in an hour so, when they are back home, and how loud their wailing.]

I don't know about Sarah Palin. One thing I'll give Yasmin is that she's not a half-wit bimbo like Palin is because even a lot of long-time Republicans weren't convinced that Palin had a point about anything.

I think a far better comparison would be to people like Jasmyne Cannick and Camille Paglia. In other words, she's mastered the art of taking oppositional and contrarian snottiness and packaging it into something that resembles a cogent argument, at least to people who agreed with her from the get-go.

Drake,

You never fail to disappoint in your repetition. You really should have someone look into it.

I'm sorry that your simplistic view of the world precludes your understanding that the world is not divided between Democrats and Republicans. I strongly advise that you start talking to someone in the real world.

And...in this analysis you are, what, the media now? But I'm glad you think I'm a Rising Star.

Okay, this bears repeating -- thank you, Yasmin, for this brilliant summary!!!

"It's part satire and part wake-up call, and it's succeeded as such, given the number of people like you who've shown up and tried to undermine its points or pretend that you, really, really agree with us - but you just wish we'd say something entirely different."

Anthony in Nashville | November 3, 2009 5:37 PM

Who is "them"? What "actions" are you talking about? I think those references and the one about "sassy roundtables" should have been directed at someone else.

My frustration with the roundtable and those who identify as Queer is that they don't seem capable of focusing on one issue. Instead they want to attack everything (usually the most entrenched ideas and institutions) at once. That seems like an unorganized way of doing things.

This same kind of debate came up during a forum at Atlanta's black gay pride. The goal was to outline an agenda of action, and it got derailed by a handful of people who insisted on calling it "queer" instead of "gay."

I agree with some of your ideas, but what I'm not seeing is a plan or anything that would inspire people who don't already hold your views.

Perhaps the lgtbtqaa population would be better off admitting that there is no singular community, only communities of individuals who are going to prioritize different issues.

Oh, Anthony,

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how you can skip in between a discussion of the so-called "National Equality March," where the mainstream gays are pointing to the dissolutions and fractures in their "movement":

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/11/equality_march_co-directors_resign_group_reorganiz.php

and then come back here and accuse *us* of having no agenda. Seriously? You think *we're* unorganised? Dude, you're right there, breathing fire on the comments section - I can see you, clear as day. And no one, wisely, is paying attention to you over there, even though you keep raising your voice to be heard. And we shall now begin to do the same here.

See another big difference in the politics of engagement here? We actually believe in a politics of reflection and engagement - hence our engagement with you. Which will now end.

I WILL agree with you on this one, hold on to your chair:
"Perhaps the lgtbtqaa population would be better off admitting that there is no singular community, only communities of individuals who are going to prioritize different issues."

Yes, absolutely - now try telling that to NGLTF, HRC, IE and all the others, which depend on lying through their teeth about how much support they get from the ENTIRE community for their doomed agenda that only includes the Holy Trinity of HCL, Gay Marriage and DADT.

Now, darling, return to the other post, and pray that someone will pay attention to you there.

This sounds like a meeting of the People's Front of Judea.

JUDEAN PEOPLES' FRONT


(someone had to say it)

Ah, the gnomes and the trolls are out in full force now. I think this comment thread just jumped the shark, as it were.

To repeat, again:

"It's part satire and part wake-up call, and it's succeeded as such, given the number of people like you who've shown up and tried to undermine its points or pretend that you, really, really agree with us - but you just wish we'd say something entirely different."

Hey Yasmin, your kinda doing the same thing you rail against other people for...You say they get mad and start calling people racist, etc...but you get put out and start calling people trolls and such.

Hmmmm

Easy there, i was feeding the rapidly deteriorating thread to the shark, bringing what started out as a fabulously witty original posting (that i agreed with every word of - without qualification) that then got dragged through the muck by a bunch of apparent log cabiners. Seemed like the circle of this thread's life was not going to be complete until a Python reference was made, or the immortal words of Godwin were fulfilled. Troll, indeed. *humph*

My bad, mykill, and I sincerely apologise. I agree that a Python references always tops things off.

I'm very sorry about the snippiness - my only excuse is that Mattilda and I have been at the ramparts for a while now, defending against some of the most rampant lies (including racism and homophobia) and I jumped to a conclusion.

I don't even know if they're log cabiners ... at least log cabiners are clear on their politics. I think most of the people here actually think they're on the left/liberal side of things, which makes it harder to explain the sheer badness of it all...

[trepidatiously holds out a peace offering, comprised of vegan cookies, hot chocolate, and some very yummy home-made peanut brittle]

Sorry, really!

Well maybe left of center but not progressive...
Think I missed the "the most rampant lies (including racism and homophobia)" I'll reread all the post... I thought we were having a good time :-)

Oh, you had me even before you held out the goodies, apology most definitely accepted (my umbrage was all pomp and no circumstance, anyway ;-) )

I totally agree most don't realize that concrete-glass- -and-steel building that says HRC on the front is just a facade on a cabin made of logs. Just like the band says, "But as the days go by I can't tell which side is talkin' / Their left is in the center and labeled liberal doctrine".

...and that's two music references for me in this thread, so we should probably really kill it now.

Also, big thanks for being in the ramparts. We need more voices like yours and Mattilda's.

Maybe if you got to the ramparts against the right wing instead of against other gay people that just want equality things would go easier?

Seriously. If you don't think marriage, equal employment rights, hate crimes laws, or whatever are important don't work for them. But all I see is a bunch of self righteous babble aimed at my rights.

Kathygnome, our point is that the narrow agenda of the gay establishment is actually limiting the options for broader structural change -- with or without your "self-righteous babble."

Why is it only wannabe lefty radicals who claim that the desire for equal protection under the law is somehow "wanting to be like straight people"? Would you have been against African Americans desegregating so they could "drink" like white people? Are you against equal pay for equal work for women because women must want to "be" like men? We demand marriage equality for the same reasons we demand equal under the law in all matters. The far out lefties do have this in common with the rabid right wingers: they see marriage only as a religious institution that reinforces gender norms. If two women can get married, then how do you justify women's earning 73 cents to a man's dollar? This fight isn't just about marriage, but about creating the conditions to continue fighting for liberation and actually winning some material benefits. And in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it matters whether I get on my husband's health insurance, whether we get death benefits, whether we get child custody, etc.

Dear Lonnie,

I do want to make sure that people understand a vital point: In this economic crisis, marriage will not get you anything you want: not health care (if your company gives you none, or if you work independently, you might not have any to share), not death benefits (you might not have any to leave), not child custody (you might want to worry about feeding and clothing the child in the first place, and let's not forget the absence of child health care and day care). According to a recent study, 1 out of 6 Americans lives in poverty. And, according to a sociologist colleague of mine, even that number, revised to show recent trends, may be a conservative estimate.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091020/ap_on_re_us/us_poverty

When two poor people get married, they double their economic misery and their risk of financial insolvency. I wish the gay economists who trumpet marriage as a cure for poverty would be more honest about that. The economic crisis we face today is deeper than we'd like to admit. Marriage does nothing to solve our problems.

Brad Bailey | November 4, 2009 2:13 AM

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Well, you and your "sassy roundtable" can celebrate for the rest of the week, since your side won in Maine. Have you exchanged congratulations with Maggie Gallagher, Peter LaBarbera and the Pope yet?

Mary, actually our point is that the Christian right and the gay establishment are symbiotic -- they fund each other's movements, and if they are truly successful then in the end maybe there will even be gay marriages among fundamentalist Christian homophobes -- now that would be progress!

Thanks Yasmin and Mattilda... hope your happy.

Oh my. That was a roasting of epic proportions. Thanks for a few good laughs to lighten an otherwise glum morning.

I get what y'all are saying and I'm inclined to agree with much of it. However, I'm an easy target, as my understanding of the world is rooted in leftist philosophy and my sense of humor is of the sarcastic persuasion. I think that educating folks with a more serious and respectful tone might reach the readers of Bilerico more effectively.

Even so, thanks for the roasting. After engaging in a fruitless verbal firefight with a transphobe at different blog, this put a smile on my face.

Yay for smiles! And humor of the sarcastic persuasion!


I do not believe that vocal opponents of gay rights should be on Bilerico as regular commentators. I strongly suggest to Bil and to Alex that Yazmin and Mattilda be dropped. Your site would not welcome anti-gay clerics of the far right as regular contributors, and the same should apply to these self-described queers, who have drawn tiny concentric circles around their scope of intellectual discourse, and who display huge intoleration for lesbians and gays.

Xerxes, thanks for proving our point about the intolerance of gay marriage assimilation proponents for dissenting views among queers!

So now we have fundies to our right and queers to our left??? would they let James Dobson on here constantly bashing us because we want Marriage Equality like you do???

Lady Enchantress | November 4, 2009 4:30 PM

Thank you Hilary, Yasmin, Gina, and Mattilda for this. It made my day, my week, my month, my year.

Also thank you for your exceptionally intelligent and entertaining responses to these comments, and for exposing many of them for what they are - cheap rhetorical magic tricks.

These comments Lady Enchantress while may not be as flowery and well crafted as others but they certainly are not "cheap rhetorical magic tricks". They are the feelings of real people, we have a desire for change. Perhaps not as radical as some but positive change.

Lady Enchantress, you are certainly enchanting me :)

Lady Enchantress | November 5, 2009 5:22 PM

Oh no darling you are the enchanting one

come one say more smart things... make me moist

Midtowner, comparing radical queer opinions to James Dobson is only an attempt to silence us.

Umm your radical on the left and he's radical on the right...isnt that the Kettle calling thingy???

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Midtowner,

You're not even responding to the comments now. Please stay on-topic. Or don't respond at all.

Brad Bailey | November 4, 2009 4:50 PM

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I'm not sure why this last topic was deleted since it was a reference to an extremely ugly and personal comment by Brad. I'll assume it was deleted because my own comment repeated his words. Suffice it to say, Brad Bailey's comment was extraordinarily nasty and personal. I hope future readers abstain from such viciousness.


Yaz-tilda - There is nothing wrong with Midtowner's comparison of your outrageous anti-gay and anti-lesbian positions being compared to one of our significant opponents, James Dobson. I second the proposition above that you two ( Nair and Sycamore) be dropped from this blog. Such opinions as you advance in the "sassy roundtable" are antithetical to gay and lesbian rights. You are calling for an end to capitalism, overturning various other social structures - go advocate these ideas someplace else where they hatch such silly plots. These positions would be tolerable to suffer through reading if you two were not so adamantly against the gay and lesbian agenda.
If the editors tolerate you two much longer, they will be loosing readership. No wonder Bil has to beg for votes to get the award for best INDIANA blog !
This blog is a gathering of persons interested in gay/lesbian/bi/transgender issues, and how to advance them in the hope that all of us may see real improvements in our own lifetimes on these issues. You two have shown up here and highjacked the audience with totally different matters altogether. You are taking advantage of the audience that Bilerico has built to proselytize for something else. As you can see, people aren't buying it.
Yazmin- when you dump on HRC, Task Force, GLAAD, and every other gay/lesbian organization, you get annoyed everytime that I invite you to form your own organization and see who follows, and what financial resources you will be able to marshall. Larry Kramer did this when he thought organizations weren't sufficiently responsive to the AIDS crises, and wow, did he get support, money, and teach everyone a lesson ! Go see if you can accept the "pepsi challenge" and do the same for your ideas. You know that no one but Ms. Sycamore will follow you, and this is why you get so annoyed when I suggest this.
In a free society, there is a marketplace of ideas and non-profits. You are against all the ones that people want to support. You seem to have little or no support for yours, and express jealousy for those organizations which do have support (in terms of resources and memberships), whether you think they are effective or not.
Seriously, if you are truly believing in your ideas, go DO something about them, but please zip your lip (you to Mattilda) if you are going to be anti-gay and anti-lesbian. We who live in a real world get enough of that opposition from some others, that we do not need it from those masquerading as "fellow travelers" in the LGBT communities.
One success that I believe you two have gained here, is that many have decided that for the time being, until we hear from some same Q's, I think we have enough letters with LGBT.
By theway, this is from Drake, and for some reason the screen insists opn simply saying "anonymous".

Yay for Drake - who deserves a prize for FINALLY saying something more than the pieces they've been cutting and pasting from their other comment threads!

Drake,

First of all, YOU need a short lesson on how blogs work, and how readership carries blogs through. Trust me darling, if you had ANY idea of the reality of how blogs are deemed successful, you'd never leave your room.

So, yeah, keep going on about how WE, the TWO, the ENTIRE TWO of us, the only ones who are consistently critical of gay marriage among, how many now, 65? 85 contributors are taking away from Bilerico. Darling, do you even read bilerico? Or do you just come over to our blogs? I mean, it's not fun having your repetition around, and now I see why you must always repeat your points - it's because you don't know how to engage with anyone else, poor dear.

Darling, I'm not annoyed that you suggest that I form my own groups, I'm just vastly amused that you, a conservative gay/lesbian, are clueless about how much even mainstream gays and lesbians dislike HRC and the others. Remember this BIG, BIG, BIG march on DC? Or were you too busy parking yourself on one of our blogs to notice? It was HUGE, darling, just HUGE. And do you know what the motivating factor behind it was? Oh, darling, I hope you're sitting down for this - Cleve Jones and others said that HRC and NGLTF and others weren't doing enough!

Which is to say: Not only are you clueless about how blogs work, but you're completely clueless about, apparently, much of reality when you carp at US for not liking HRC et al. Turn on the tv, darling, open the windows, talk to some real-life gays and lesbians for a change, find out what's happening in the world of gay and lesbian politics, hell, just click on a few bloody links somewhere instead of showing up here like an infant mewling for attention (and in case people are wondering about this and are late to this conversation, go to any one of my blogs or Mattilda's and use "Drake" in the find function - Drake is one of our biggest fans and says exactly the same thing every. single. time).

And while I understand and respect the need for many people to use pseudonyms or one-name monikers (some of my best friends do that), I'm certainly not going to obey injunctions and instructions on MY activism from someone named "Drake" who provides NO picture, NO information about their work and who, might, for all I know, not even be real (I've often suspected that you and "Alaric" are the same people). I mean, really, who ARE you? And what's YOUR existence and grand work in the scheme of things? Sure, you can tell me anything you want - without any real-time information, why should I believe that you're anything than one of those pajama-clad bots who spends all day in front of the computer and measures time by the number of times you see your name on an internet comment thread?

Get over it darling. Get outside - it might be a lovely Fall day wherever you are.

Paige Listerud | November 4, 2009 5:32 PM

This is a long thread and I don't think I'm going to add anything substantive that hasn't been hashed through before.

I will make a small objection to the hyperbole of the title above, however--"Gay Marriage IS the End of the World (the Queer World, at Least)." I realize this may be tongue-in-cheek however, consider that it might be a distraction even for queer identified activists to give so much importance to same-sex marriage, even in fun.

Consider that the revolutionary focus of the early days of 1970s Gay Liberation lasted only about 5 years. A radical focus was never going to dominate LGBTQ activism forever. Throughout the continuing decades, LGBTQ activism has shifted continuously more conservative.

So of course, it's doubtful that middle class LGBTQ folks would ever want to subvert the culture they so desperately want to get back into. But, if we are to consider what the needs of the "queer" world are, then we wouldn't be so absorbed with other LGBTQs desires for assimilation. On the contrary, we would focus on doing what radical queers do best--creating alternative communities that provide more freedom and more authenticity than the mainstream ever could.

You can see where I'm headed with this. Gay Marriage is not the end of the world. Not the world of the Christian Right and not the radical left queer world, either. War might destroy us and so might economic disparity but same-sex marriage, once it has been achieved--and, as sure as Mom and apple pie, it will be achieved--it will turn out to be a useless appendage. Whether finding that out will ever induce assimilationists to return to a community that provides real freedom and equality is anyone's guess--but that transgressive community ought to exist and ought to be a thriving alternative. At the very least, it should exist for us. What are we going to do to make sure that happens?

Paige, thank you so much for the thoughtful analysis -- while I agree that yes, as queers we should focus on creating radical alternatives, I also think that we must demand accountability for the violence that the assimilationist "LGBT" agenda consistently enacts -- no one else is going to provide that challenge.

Yasmin & Mattilda,

In too much pain to type a lot.

Just wanted to thank you both for this post. It seems most of your detractors went out of their way to make your point for you.

I was prepared for the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth from the HRC-sexuals, but they turned into a bunch of Brownshirts a lot faster than I anticipated. I mean, I expected it at some point but wow!

BAN THE QUEERS FROM BILERICO!
PREPARE THE GAS CHAMBERS!


I love how these people react to any criticism of their agenda with "okay, well, then like, what are you doing to bring about positive change in the world Miss Thang? You are clearly, like, so miserable! I went to 40 circuit parties last year where 5% of the proceeds went to charity-the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network! That's right bitches! Now who's the activist? You are clearly doing nothing but complaining while I am out hoping to live to be the change I want to see...or whatever."

A post on a website criticizing the agenda of the white homotocracy = does nothing else with life.

Standard tactic of gays and Obama supporters, not to mention the gay Obama supporters!

Yasmin- I admire your willingness to engage with the gaysbiens. And kudos to you and Mattilda for getting them to come right out and say "The gay agenda is not a progressive or even a left agenda." They even dropped their center-right facade long enough to give us a glimpse of their inner fascists!

It has been beyond fascinating.

And thanks for getting them to disavow the word "queer".

We need more of that!

I'll stick with the queer faggysissiebutchgenderfuckers.

xoxoxo
EM

Thank you, Elian! And I certainly understand about the pain -- oh no, more pain -- help!

And I love this:

"A post on a website criticizing the agenda of the white homotocracy = does nothing else with life."

Somewhere there's a T-shirt...

"queer faggysissiebutchgenderfuckers" for EVER.

And that's also a t-shirt I want!

Oh jeez, the conservative homos have all their panties in a twist. I'm so happy for voices dissenting from the DADT, DOMA, and hate crimes gay agenda. For a long time I thought marriage equality was just a waste of time and money but recently I've been seeing how it serves to create a further division between the gays who get to assimilate into just.like.you. society and all the queers they are leaving behind. Rights shouldn't be tied to being in an institutionalized relationship - that seems like an OBVIOUS environment for abuse and exploitation to occur. Sigh...and sending people to prison for longer for hate crimes? Don't people know that queers and trans people are over represented populations in our prisons? I'm sure they are THRILLED by the protection they get. Thanks to the panelists for this interesting conversation. And I'm glad it was snarky and sarcastic because I've had as much of somber queens as I can take.

Thanks, Cyd!

Glad that someone else gets what we were trying to do - yes, snark and sarcasm is much needed!

As Elián put it above, this is really bringing out the Brownshirts. Ooops, now we'll all get into HUGE trouble for being nasty, vicious, anti-Brownshirt, etc. The level of vitriol here is astonishing but not surprising, given how sad and pathetic the marriage movement has been so far. They had nearly all year, plus a giant march in DC, to get their Maine act together, and they still couldn't win. No wonder they're all showing up here...

I hear you on "For a long time I thought marriage equality was just a waste of time and money but recently I've been seeing how it serves to create a further division between the gays who get to assimilate into just.like.you. society and all the queers they are leaving behind." I think that shift is occurring in a lot of places, and it will have to spread to even those bright-eyed young gays and lesbians who are currently so enthralled by what must seem to them to be the only real movement they can be a part of. I think Maine will have to cause a lot of rethinking.

Yes yes -- where is my I Love Cyd T-shirt?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 9:18 AM

Cyd, when you are older you will appreciate the rights of the children you have (if you choose). The rights to inherit that the partner I hope you have (or will find) in a manner equivalent to the heteros. The right to deal with elder care issues for your partner on an equal footing with government that you do not currently have. I know this old argument very well. It is wholly recycled from the 1960's.

Don't follow the siren call of the great witch for she does not know where she is going.

And exactly how old am I robert?

BTW I live in California where there are domestic partnerships and already same sex inheritance law and adoption. Although I've heard the tax breaks aren't quite the same as comes with that whole marriage thing. Considering that I'm a queer transsexual sex worker and HIV educator it's unlikely that I will give a shit about tax breaks any time...ever in my life. I have a lot of things to consider before that, like my job not getting cut from the budget or my friends not getting arrested for trying to make rent money.

Please don't patronize me by telling me that 'I will understand better when I'm older', rights to adoption and hospital visitation should not be tied to state relationship status! What about single mothers that are very capable and loving parents? People who in polyamorous relationships and want to be able to be able to control hospital care for both (or more) of their partners in case of emergency?

It is actually young people who are mostly wrapped up in this marriage equality thing, perhaps because many didn't live through the visible part of the AIDS crisis and don't understand that queers actually have real battles to fight. I believe there is a quote by a sister of perpetual indulgence that says something like: "You can't get married if you're dead". Perhaps we should get our priorities straight, hmmm?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 6:36 PM

Ok Cyd, sounds like you run a full service operation. I presume in your trade you are in your twenties. Don't express yourself like a child and I will not presume.

Cyd, when you are older you will appreciate the rights of the children you have (if you choose). The rights to inherit that the partner I hope you have (or will find) in a manner equivalent to the heteros. The right to deal with elder care issues for your partner on an equal footing with government that you do not currently have. I know this old argument very well. It is wholly recycled from the 1960's.

Wow, that's a condescending thing to say at all. /sarcasm

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 6, 2009 9:29 AM

Megan, Thank you, you gave a thirsty man in the desert some water.

Actually I just decided to stop engaging with you because I realized we weren't going to have a constructive conversation. And I have more ways to get off in real life than internet battling with someone who makes weird comments about my "full trade operation"

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 16, 2009 10:25 AM

Actually, that was "full service operation."

I think that you just proved the point that it is important not only to rant, but to take thoughtful action. The roundtable does not read as considered judgments or thoughtful ideas by any in the group, regardless of whether you agree with any of the statements or not. Cleve Jones, whom you just mention, had criticisms of some of the big organizations, and he took thoughtful constructive action. Your post on October 9 "Why I am not coming out on Coming out Day" dissected the main issues of the LGBTQ agenda, and then went on to criticize the march. By the way, I marched that day and it was a great experience. Although you do your best to disparage all the organizations, they do have some measures of success. First, they have been good at conscienceness raising within the LGBTQ community or communities. They have raised lots of money, itself an indication of support. HRC did have enough respect for its work and its people that the President of the United States spoke at its dinner. Granted, the organizations which you deride are not working to destroy capitalism, or any of the other pillars of society which you are interested in seeing crumble. I am sure that you are right that there are plenty who do not support these groups, and I assume that they show such disapproval by not contributing. I am sure that you must be in this category. However, it is one thing not to support, and quite another thing to so often get on a soapbox calling for the destruction and end of the current LGBTQ organizations.

Pete darling,

"The roundtable does not read as considered judgments or thoughtful ideas by any in the group, regardless of whether you agree with any of the statements or not." Go look at Mattilda's introduction again - and go figure out what the meaning of a roundtable is. Once again, with feeling:

"This isn't exactly an attempt to persuade people to march or to vote on a referendum; it's a roundtable discussion, and its tone was clearly marked by Mattilda at the start. It's part satire and part wake-up call, and it's succeeded as such, given the number of people like you who've shown up and tried to undermine its points or pretend that you, really, really agree with us - but you just wish we'd say something entirely different."

And [falls off chair for the nth time, she is losing count by now, and needs to see her chiropractor immediately], darling, are you serious about this:

"Cleve Jones, whom you just mention, had criticisms of some of the big organizations, and he took thoughtful constructive action."

Sweetie darling, have you been *reading* any of the gay press on the march lately? Or are you, like Robert Ganshorn above, so mired in the distinction between print and internet media that you're still waiting for your copy of the Advocate to tell you the big news about the march. Well, here it is from Bilerico, no less:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/11/equality_march_co-directors_resign_group_reorganiz.php

Sorry if this breaks your heart or any illusions you may have had about the man's power to unify or his ability to provide "thoughtful constructive action." Look, stop pretending that even you marriage-wallahs actually have any kind of consensus on this "movement." I read the news, I see the blog discussions - you guys still don't have your act together. You lost Maine after, what, a year to put it together?? And you're *still* quibbling.

As for "However, it is one thing not to support, and quite another thing to so often get on a soapbox calling for the destruction and end of the current LGBTQ organizations."

But NOOOOOOOOOO, darling, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO - we live only for the destruction of LGBTQ organisations! Would you really take that away from us? But that's all we have to look forward to - destruction, destruction, destruction!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 9:25 AM

Failure, failure, failure.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 9:27 AM

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Oh my... First, thank you for the post! Thoughtful and right on! I don't know how to feel, however, about all the racist, illogical, reactionary responses from the gay marriage advocates! They really seem to be making less sense as the months go on and their "truths" are being exposed as privileged lies. Thank you to Yasmin and Mattilda for facing the fire of their reaction and speaking the truth!

Elian
Glad someone else noticed the brown shirts amongst us. I said it a long time ago these guys and gals can change on the drop or a dime and are a dangerous lot. Have a lot of experience with it here in CT.

They are just like everything that I began rebelling against in 1964 and still fight against today. Why they want to be like mommy and daddy is way beyond me.

There is a holy war going on and I am glad that I am on the side of Mattilda, Elian, Yasmin, Hilary, Gina, Cyd and a host of many many other queers.

Hey Mattilda keep it up baby!

Richard

Thanks, queer artist and annoyed,

Yes, it's time to acknowledge that these are indeed gay fundamentalists among us. Annoyed, you're right to point out that they're getting worse and making less sense - they're now reduced to counting comments here.

What was it that the Obama administration said about pajama-clad trolls in the gay community online? At any rate, I wonder if the orgs realise how much vitriol fronts their movement; I suspect they do in a miscalculation that the insanity will somehow keep the battle going.

Yes, they're definitely losing it - the kind of ideological dementia that settles in when one's politics are proven to fail, over and over again. As I've been saying all along, they had Maine to prepare for months - and they still lost. But, as you might have noticed, they're now blaming US for the loss.

The insanity knows no bounds and will continue. Thanks for your support.

Yeah, good luck with yr 'holy war', dude.

Annoyed, thank you for the support, and: “I don't know how to feel, however, about all the racist, illogical, reactionary responses from the gay marriage advocates!”

Not too surprising, however, considering the agenda…

And Richard, from 1964 until now -- let’s keep it going!!!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 6, 2009 9:37 AM

I do not support Gay marriage ahead of civil rights. I have not asked to be married, but if I am traveling with my partner and have to take him to a Baptist hospital emergency room I should not get shit for it. From civil rights we will obtain what we need and the distractions you offer are counter productive to the needs 80% of LGBT persons.

We are not in Hungary in 1957 and you are not the intelligencia.

Old, old stuff!

This has turned into the zombie thread that won't die !

In defense of Alaric, we are not one and the same. We have never met, unless it was during my wild youth, anonymously in the Bois de Boulogne that year, or once on a dare at the Mineshaft in NYC some time later.

Yasmin, I wonder if we ever passed on the streets of Chicago and unknowingly sneered at each other when I was on sabbatical , teaching a seminar , living in Hyde Park? I seem to remember your previous incarnation as a "feminist" before you moved your camp in an anarchist attempt to overtake the lesbian/gay/bi/trans movement? Maybe it was an encounter at 57th Street Books, or the Seminary co-op that pushed us to opposite camps. Have you considered performance art, because you really are an act. One thinks of Susan Finley smearing self in chocolate syrup, you in your verbage against society.

I have lived in Washington, DC for a number of years, and teach at a university. I am also happily MARRIED to my lover of more than a quarter century.

In my lifetime, I have only knowingly met or spoken to one other real live Bilerico reader, and this was at Big Gay Book Club here in Washington, DC. when someone actually brought up the subject of "self-loathing gays" who sound like Ann Coulter. I must say that in some ways I admire your tenacity in what you think you are doing, and suggest that you consider how you may be more "effective" rather than simply just going for "effects" or "affects" as the case may be.

Since I choose to leave comments that are not in the typical academic genre in which I am expected to professionally write, I have chosen not to fully identify myself, for reasons of employment.

The above info is provided because of your complaints that you don't know enough about me.
So, a bientot, see you again, till your next screed.

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Oh, and Drake?

If you're done with your Count Menace Act, stick to the topic at hand. Discuss the panel or get the hell off here.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 5, 2009 6:43 PM

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Drake,

I know who you are. And have for a long time. No need to provide any details. Unmasking people is not why I became a blogger here. If you're going to pretend to "know" details about people's lives (and my friends are laughing right now at your description of me as an anarchist), at least get your stories right. I'm writing this because, frankly, if you can go around posting details about my life, you should know that the same can happen to you.

But if you want to get your stories straight, try writing a little better.

I wasn't complaining about not knowing enough about you - jeez, you've been following me around for such a long time, it hasn't been difficult to figure out either who you are or your retrograde politics.

No, my point is that those of us who put in the work required to write work that people actually read, in these things called magazines and books (check them out) and simultaneously work on political projects that require more than hissing diatribes and exclusionary, vindictive tactics are not required to answer to internet trolls whose lives, like their politics, exist in their imagination.

Good luck, Drake.

Drake,

I know who you are. And have for a long time. No need to provide any details. Unmasking people is not why I became a blogger here. If you're going to pretend to "know" details about people's lives (and my friends are laughing right now at your description of me as an anarchist), at least get your stories right. I'm writing this because, frankly, if you can go around posting details about my life, you should know that the same can happen to you.

But if you want to get your stories straight, try writing a little better.

I wasn't complaining about not knowing enough about you - jeez, you've been following me around for such a long time, it hasn't been difficult to figure out either who you are or your retrograde politics.

No, my point is that those of us who put in the work required to write work that people actually read, in these things called magazines and books (check them out) and simultaneously work on political projects that require more than hissing diatribes and exclusionary, vindictive tactics are not required to answer to internet trolls whose lives, like their politics, exist in their imagination.

Good luck, Drake.

hilary goldberg | November 5, 2009 2:15 PM

Wow. Thanks Mattilda and Yasmin for managing to engage with this comment thread (and for the unexpectedly necessary summarization of its intent.)

I noticed a trend about 60's and 70's ideas being "recycled" but I think that was when outsider visionaries were doing the best work (before they were thrown in prison or assassinated). It was not the ideas of liberation that failed - it was the system that had the bank accounts and cages that made it appear so. While the roundtable was satirical in tone, I feel that this is not a splintered band of ideas but a unified theory of social justice that points to a structural problem - neoliberalism.

A Marriage Centric Gay Agenda needs to take into account systemic oppression. Yasmin and Mattilda have already written extensively on this in an eloquent fashion. But the "progressive" ideas mentioned for some homo-direction are far more related than the dismissive argument that we are ranting. It is an interrelated issue of violence and oppression that cannot be buried under bags of rice thrown at gay weddings.

Call me dated but love and liberation sound like a great direction for a gay agenda. I just don't see how that has anything to do with marriage or the state.

Thanks, Hilary, for your analysis. And especially for pointing out, "a structural problem - neoliberalism." Yes to situating this issue so clearly!

Yes, yes, on everything else as well, and about systemic oppression. It's great to read your refreshing analysis not so much because you agree with us (which we love, natch!) but because of the eloquence and sanity of your writing. Other than Rullah above, whose engagement was thoughtful even as he disagreed, the others have all sounded, frankly, like unhinged townspeople at the gates, with torches ablaze.

I'm not sure how to explain the madness around here, which is not just ideological but also psychotic. There are people who've disagreed with us in the past, but they've never been so loony.

I think that has a lot to do with this desperate longing for the magical powers of the state in its most repressive form. And, I think, because the Maine "loss" has thrown them completely over the edge. I think, for a lot of people, "marriage or the state" have completely defined their existence. I don't know how to recover the critique of the two. Or, perhaps, that critique, in these economic times, is in fact gaining momentum - which is what's driving them nuts around here.

All of which is to say, thanks!

And also, yay for joining us here in the trenches! Stick around ... or not ... it's been a bumpy night.

"Call me dated but love and liberation sound like a great direction for a gay agenda. I just don't see how that has anything to do with marriage or the state."

Yay for more T-shirt ideas -- but why isn’t my voice software working now, what is going on?

Okay, back to cooking…

wow i missed you all!

loved the round table, you hit all the points, obviously pissed off the gaystream.

remember that old cake song "you turn the screws"? mmmhm..

Hi mixedqueer,

Thanks. And also for the reference to the cake song, which people can listen to here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9DFsvAi0V8

Editors' Note: We've had a few complaints about the tone in some of the comments so we're stuck having to go through and delete all the comments that violate TOS. Your comment might have tons of useful and insightful points - but if you get personal and nasty it's gonna get TOSsed.

The rules to argue civilly are pretty basic and they're printed underneath each comment box. (Right below that SUBMIT button.) Take a refresher course if you need to.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

You can say an idea is stupid without saying the person is. I expect everyone to live up to that ideal from now on.

I'm glad that the editors are finally stepping in and overseeing what has been an extraordinarily nasty set of comments by a few but dogged commenters who have not hesitated to make personal jabs at me and Mattilda, and even at some of the other commenters.

I warned the Bilerico editorial board early on that the comments were getting nasty and they would require monitoring. And I was right. But even I have been shocked by the ferocity and viciousness - and outright lies - apparent in the comments here. One commenter here, for instance, has insinuated that they know things about my life in Chicago - as it turns out, their words form a laughable fib (my own dear anarchist friends would never call me an anarchist), and his/her sheer pompposity is laid bare (I'm especially amused given what I do know about the commenter, but that's another story).

But there's a larger issue at hand here - the general level of discourse here at Bilerico has been sharply diving ever since the marriage "movement" started getting more intense. Over the many months that I've been writing at Bilerico, I find that the number of people reading my work (and I think the same is true for Mattilda as well) has greatly expanded. But, at the same time, the commenters who show up to express their hostility has expanded in intensity. Which is to say, there's a discrepancy between how many people read the blogs and how many comment on them. But those who do comment are more homogenous and more vitriolic than ever before. More often than not, I find that the few of us (perhaps two or three, at most) who take a radical queer perspective against the marriage mania that is overtaking the mainstream gay movement face some of the sharpest and often most brutal forms of rhetorical attack. Anyone who has made it this far into the comments can see the level of viciousness that I speak of.

Let me be clear: None of us who are critical of marriage as the only agenda are keen to simply talk among ourselves. The very fact that we are willing to come on to a blog site where we know we're likely to encounter criticism is an indication that we welcome dialogue and critique. When I first started writing for Bilerico, I felt I was getting the kind of spirited dialogue that would help me sharpen my own thinking and work. I've felt that less and less so recently. I strongly feel that the rabid gay marriage fundamentalists - who are no different in their hostility to a critique of marriage than the Christian Right that views gays as abominations - have taken over to the extent that even the moderate and saner folk of the marriage movement have decided to stay away from dialogue.

I'll be the first to say that the "dialogue," such as it is, in the gay community has not been helped by the escalating tensions brought about by issues like the recent Maine decision. I'll be the first to say that neither side is necessarily talking to the other - but I'll also say this: the blame lies with the mainstream gay community that has relentlessly refused to acknowledge that there could ever another side to the gay marriage movement outside of us vs. them. The "us" being gay marriage supporters, the "them" being the Christian Right. I wonder: given the increasing evidence that the U.S electorate is willing to vote yes on issues of workplace discrimination and even domestic partnerships, will the mainstream marriage-wallahs begin to ever acknowledge that there needs to be a more nuanced approach to the topic? Will they ever acknowledge that marriage is not the defining issue for millions of straights AND gays, and that those millions are not just your typical homophobic Right-wingers but also just very, very queer in that their lives are no longer defined by archaic institutions?

I suspect not.

I write this to those who are not gay marriage fundamentalists and who have a more sane approach to the marriage question: Note that your movement is increasingly being represented by people whose tactics echo those of the extreme Christian Right. I've had people come on here and make comments about Mattilda and I needing to vomit and lose weight, I've had people directly blame the Maine loss on those of us who are critical of the focus on marriage (all two/three of among, what, nearly 65/85 bloggers?). Look through the comments above and note how many are simply illogical and how many don't hesitate to display their retrograde politics.

Let me just warn you: You, those of you who want to keep up with this marriage "fight", think your biggest problem lies with the religious Right. But if the nastiness and bile made evident here is any indication, your movement is about to melt under the acid spewed by your own followers. I hardly think that any movement is about to rise and fall on the basis of the comments sections of a particular blog. But I do think that the consistently high level of vitriol on blogs that dare to articulate any critique of the mainstream gay movement says a lot about how desperate your foot soldiers are becoming. You really can't win on desperation alone. And desperation seems to be the only fuel driving your foot soldiers.

But then again, this is the internet. Perhaps all these foot soldiers are simply computer-generated images and we've been tackling figments of the imagination after all.

And, of course, I should add, our thanks to those who've also been coming out and providing sane, funny and engaged responses. Even if they don't completely agree with us, or want clarifications - Paige and Rullah's comments, for instance, are two examples of critical responses I wish more people would follow.

I would like to give some more positive feedback, because one of the reasons that I like bilerico is because it actually gives a voice to more radical queer/trans activists. [I just stopped subscribing to pam's house blend, because I wasn't learning anything from them]. So I'm grateful for this roundtable (esp. other acronyms for HRC). It made me rethink a few things (such as organizations like NGLTF).

However, I would like to say that for many getting into radical and queer politics is a journey. Years ago I would have been in the HRC camp of woohoo LGBT politics. And even months ago I was cheering on "marriage equality". But through reading posts like Yasmin's and hearing people speak like Lisa Duggan [as well as my college courses], I was able to reexamine my politics. I even got schooled on things like privilege from high schoolers (I'm a college student who works with a queer youth/activism program). So needless to say it's taken time and education. I'm still trying to educate myself. [I'm ordering That's Revolting my next paycheck :D]

So, for many terms like "neoliberalism" are unintelligible, or why capitalism is exploitative, or why other forms of justice are badly needed. And I know education may not have been the primary goal of this piece, but people are often not going to be open to learning more if they feel attacked, they just go into defense mode. Many of the comments have been rather funny and telling to see people cling so stringently onto their privilege [the gays are actually scared of the queers :D]. But I do think some of the responses to ignorant comments have been a little derisive. Not to say that you shouldn't call people out, but I think maybe it's best to assume the best in people and instead of getting in comment wars, point them to resources that might be more accessible. (e.g. "I don't support HCL for many of the reasons I stated above, if you'd like more fleshed out arguments here's a link to ...(say SRLP's discussion of hate crimes) ) And if they want to cling to their politics, its their problem. {However, after reviewing some of the comments from other people, some are really condescending, unintelligent and full of bullshit. But I still think attacking someone’s character or making assumptions about them just gives them more fuel to be a troll/jackass }

That's just a suggestion coming from my experience in education/activism, but seeing as I'm a baby queer, maybe I have more to learn on that point.

Anyways, thanks again for speaking to what queer politics could and should look like :D Much love

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your nuanced and delicately put response, and for your positive feedback. And it's always great to hear accounts of people's reflections on politics!

As for your very delicately put note on derisive comments, I completely agree with you there. And I should add, before going on, that Mattilda here has been the far more gracious (and delicately but effectively and sharply disarming) of the two of us while I've been the one to go for the jugular. I'm admitting to that, and I think you're spot on about what tone to take with commenters. By way of explanation, I should add that there's a signficant block of commenters here on bilerico who seem to have made it their particular task to follow the gay marriage critique folks like myself around. As I wrote to the ed team a day or so ago, writers can only take so much. But I think you're right, the best tactic to take with trolls is to ignore them - which opens up space for others to actually engage in a different kind of productive conversation.

I think, yes, it's necessary to call people out - not everyone here is educatable (word?), and I said what I said because I grew weary of their constant carping, much of which is cut and pasted from previous blog comment sections. That's still no excuse, but it's an explanation to point out that there were very particular Bilerico dynamics here. Having said that, I fully plan on leaving them alone from here on and concentrate on getting out the material that needs to go to an audience that's more engaged, regardless of whether or not it always agrees.

So thank you for your considered response and you are no baby queer as far as I'm concerned! Or, perhaps, it makes more sense to say that we're all baby queers here as we struggle to understand, engage, and articulate our visions of the world in this time of messy confusion and wounding ideological battles.

Love,
Yasmin

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | November 8, 2009 3:58 AM

Like Mattilda, I find the "marriage equality" agenda fully ridiculous (and self-destructive to the community whose interests it supposedly exists to advance).

Let's leave marriage to the breeders who invented it (based on reproductive biology, I [for one] believe -- quite happy, in my own instance, to have had a mother and a father who loved each other and who loved me [as well as my heterosexual sister, for that matter] as the offspring of their union). We can call our (various) relationships by our own (perhaps more creative) names.

Saying gay people have an "equal right to marry" is like saying Jews have the same right as gentiles to celebrate Easter (and, I suppose, to forget about Passover)...

(Note that domestic partnerships survived a majoritarian vote in Washington State, while marriage failed in Maine, as usual. I believe we'd have done even better in Washington State if we hadn't insisted on campaigning for our own version of (that is, our own redefinition of) the term "family." (Yes, I'm saying that we might just as well leave the term "family" to the breeders, too. Remember when, years ago, they were the ones campaigning for a "Family Protection Act"? What are we doing emulating them now?)

Conversely, however, I don't see how such a queercentric, "forget-about-marriage" position implies that we should necessarily share a leftist political agenda -- or any other "one-size-fits-all" ideology. Nor does this mean I lack "an analysis"; it may merely mean I don't share one or another variety of a neo-marxist class analysis. (For that matter, to the extent that I do agree with certain aspects of such an analysis, I don't feel obliged to swallow it whole.)

Put that in your pipe and smoke it -- all you single-minded, conformist ideologues on all sides....

So Yasmin and friends, you hate specialization of causes. I mean, that is what your argument boils down to. Besides your claim that wanting marriage is bullshit, which is really just you and your ilk ignoring the concerns of others, and claiming they are not valid concerns. Very Republican of you all, I must say.

So, I eagerly await your lambasting of the Muscular Dystrophy organizations for ignoring GLBT rights. Or the the Green Party for not fighting Lupus. Or the Breast Cancer organizations ignoring asthma.

-Sorry I accidentally tried replying to this comment before but just made a generic comment, so please see below-

The queer critique is not one that hates specialization of causes, instead it's one which tries to operate in a social justice framework that recognizes the intersectionality of oppression (patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, etc.). It's a politics that challenges queer communities to not just rely on diversity, but to actually be anti-racist and anti-classist. It challenges communities of color to understand and engage the sexual and gender diversity in their communities. It challenges queer groups to be feminist. It challenges feminist groups to be queer. The mainstream LGBT community politics, especially that which focuses on marriage and the military is terribly myopic. One reason being there are much more exigent problems facing the queer community (violence, HIV/AIDS, unsafe schools, criminalization of queer bodies and desires, etc.). But also, if you want to actually challenge oppression, you can't reproduce and create other systems of oppression (all the -isms). Thus marriage as a privatization of state responsibilities (health care, child care, etc.) does little for unmarried people who need these things, instead just trying to access straight/married privilege. And hate crimes legislation "does nothing but put more money, energy, and resources into the hands of the notoriously racist, classist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic criminal so-called "justice" system" (MBS). And DADT just allows queers to participate in American imperial wars. HRC rating or corporations, and corporate sponsorship and participation in pride parades, just allows them to paint themselves as "progressive", despite exploitation of people and the environment.

If we want to have a movement which achieves meaningful change we need to have an understanding of different systems of oppression and to be cognizant of them in our organizing. Because justice isn't about "just us". That being said, we need queer organizations. We need queer youth organizations. We need queer people of color organizations. We need trans organizations. Because we do need to develop our critiques and interventions out of the understanding/analysis of our individual and collective experience. And with these separate critiques we can start to build coalitions around issues that affect us (maybe in different ways). We can create a politics that meaningfully engages with difference. And one which seeks not to assimilate into, but to destroy systems of oppression.

I think Alex's response - which is, I believe, directed specifically at Tikihead, gives us a lot to chew on and is an interesting map of how to develop coalitions that might destroy systems of oppression.

The charge that the queer analysis seeks to monopolise understandings of intersectionality would make sense if there were actually other left/progressive movements that believed in intersectionality. It's difficult to monopolise the only conversation in the room. Intersectionality has certainly not been a tenet, central or perepheral, to the marriage movement. But it has also been absent from the traditional labour movement, for instance.

The "left" as we understand it is itself currently a creature that seeks a definition. And that being said, it's still only the left, even its currently inchoate state, that even believes that multiple oppressions exist. I would emphasise the word "principled" in this search, as opposed to a left that simply incorporates or appropriates other struggles in order to advance its short term goals.

I suggest that we use Alex's comment to further ponder what intersectionality and a left queer political agenda might look like.

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | November 10, 2009 2:42 PM

I don't see any good reason why people of a particular sexual orientation ought to see themselves as allied with something called "the left."

I have my own analysis (a unique one, as I hope everyone's is): in my case, I'm a middle-of-the-road anarchist who has little respect for right-wing propertarians or leftists who believe in political or organizational structures as an alternative to the concentrations of power that arise under capitalism.

I believe in self-determination (e.g, regarding gender issues), but I also believe in there's a distinction between reality and imagination (which I nonetheless value highly for its own sake). (I may wish I'd been born into a different body, or different circumstances, from those that [from a holistic standpoint, absent a mind/body distinction] are actually aspects of who I am in the real world [which, as an "externality," I can change], but [according to this same view] self-acceptance takes priority over any wish for a different body.

In any event, I don't believe a leftist analysis by itself, or any other analysis that's offered as "packaged goods," is necessarily a good jumping-off point for a discussion of queer political/personal identity -- though leftists and trans "folks") will undoubtedly lambaste me for this (the former claiming I have "no analysis of oppression, the latter claiming I'm imposing my "holistic, anarchist" ideology on others)...

Sorry, but self-determination as I've defined it allows me nothing less...

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | November 10, 2009 3:20 AM

The problem Alex (as I've suggested), is that -- even if we accept the (questionable) notion that we all seek to eliminate oppression -- not everyone necessarily accepts the same analysis or "understanding" of the nature or causes (or the definition) of oppression itself.

One problem with the "queer analysis" is that it seeks to monopolize or claim hegemony over all understandings of "intersectionality" (specifically with a neo-marxist "class/race/gender"-based analysis and a laundry-list approach to the "isms").

In that context, I'll repeat what I've said before (inviting a response): "A queercentric, 'forget-about-marriage' position doesn't need to imply that we should necessarily share a leftist political agenda -- or any other 'one-size-fits-all' ideology. Put that in your pipe and smoke it -- all you single-minded, conformist ideologues on all sides...."

Paige Listerud | November 12, 2009 6:40 PM

Once again, I feel so bad that I am several days late to this dance.

Something that MitchInOakland said:" Let's leave marriage to the breeders who invented it (based on reproductive biology, . . . "

Maybe this is just the perspective of someone who could hook up long term with someone of the opposite sex as much as someone of the same sex--but I say, let's not just leave marriage to the "breeders" or presume that it was created "based on reproductive biology." There's nothing "natural" about marriage. It's a socially constructed patriarchal institution that is all about men possessing women and children.

I'm for destroying this institution AS IT IS and replacing it with something far more liberating and free from the sanction or the interference of the state. It would have to be an agreement of committed relationship flexible enough to include other people, as the participants designate appropriate for them, and it would not be privileged over remaining single or celibate. And we could begin by engendering a culture, starting out as as counter-culture of course, that would encourage and do its best to protect the participants. Hopefully, other sex radical subcultures would find a home.

This is not an argument limited to defending polyamory. But before anyone goes claiming that people can engage in polyamory if they want--they just have to be "discreet" about it--let me just say that the closet is a factor for polys as much as it does for monogamous queers. Polyamorous folks are fearful of being found out by people who could fire them, take away their children, deny them housing, etc.

I suggest that we fulfill the Christian Right's fears of being the end of marriage as we know it.

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | November 21, 2009 9:42 PM

Paige Listerud wrote: "Let's not just leave marriage to the "breeders" or presume that it was created "based on reproductive biology." There's nothing "natural" about marriage. It's a socially constructed patriarchal institution that is all about men possessing women and children.":

That's one interpretation, going back to Engels and shared, perhaps, by some anthropologists and historians. I don't fully agree with it. It seems obvious to me that terms like "father," "mother," "son," "daughter," "brother," "sister," "aunt," "uncle," etc. -- even "family" -- proceed directly from the "facts of life" (i.e., sexual reproduction). Adoption is a makeshift arrangement, as are sterile marriages. (Incidentally, I believe fully in the right of gay men and lesbians to adopt - whether or not we're coupled, incidentally.)

Paige also writes:

"I'm for destroying this institution AS IT IS and replacing it with something far more liberating...:

I don't feel there's necessarily a need to destroy (or redefine) existing relationships in order to create alternatives. OTOH, I don't think the State should be in the business of legitimizing one such form of relationship above another.

I'm very late to this party, but I basically just have one thing to say.

You can tear my head off or condescendingly 'darling' me all you like, but reading this round table all I could thing was 'goddamn, you guys are BITTER' and I don't really see how that bitter, cynical view can get us anywhere positive. I don't particularly want to get married and I'm definitely never adopting or having kids, but I don't see what's wrong with wanting to have a normal, quiet existence. Not closeted, no, but just quiet. I'm happy with who I am and I don't see the need for overcomplicating things. You guys have probably all been to fancy colleges and shit and good for you, but for all the yapping about patriarchy and the prison industrial complex, where are the actual concrete truths in there? Where's the determination of action? You can bellyache and bitch about this all day long, throwing about high-minded phrases but really... how does ANY of this philosophical, bitter blathering turn into something worthwhile and real? Tearing down all the established supports like ritalin-hyped eight-year-olds wielding sledgehammers is only going to bring the roof down on our heads and what fucking good is that?

Lol. Yeah, the USSR, North Korea, Cuba, those all worked out well. The idea that even more failed radicalism is the answer to our problems is a recipe for terror, not liberation.

Yay for enlightenment!

This shit here is the good stuff. Right fucking on!!!!! I need to surround myself with more "lesbigays" who think along these lines.