Yasmin Nair

Against Equality Is Hitting the Road with Our New Book!

Filed By Yasmin Nair | September 21, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Against Equality, gay marriage, John D'Emilio, Kenyon Farrow, Mattilda Berbstein Sycamore, Ryan Conrad

The recent Prop 8 decision by Judge Vaughn Walker was greeted with great celebration in mainstream gay and lesbian circles. Defenders of gay marriage have been lovingly quoting entire sections of the decision and drawing some bulkbooks1.jpgstrange conclusions. For Jennifer Pizer, Lambda Legal's "marriage project director" the decision proved that "being gay is about forming an adult family relationship with a person of a same sex, so denying us equality within the family system is to deny respect for the essence of who we are as gay people."

Those of us who have been gay or queer without marriage might wonder: Really? I mean, really? That's the essence of who I am? Somewhere inside me is a married person just waiting to spring forth into my "essence?"

The fact that a major gay organization like Lambda Legal even has a "marriage project director" startles us because we thought that such organizations have always, in their totality, been a "marriage project." The same is true, of course, for the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the myriad groups out there with "Equality" in their names. All of them have been so relentlessly focused on gay marriage as the ultimate mark of "full equality" that they have cast aside any concern for the numerous issues facing queers today: homelessness, especially among queer youth; a rise in HIV/AIDS rates; a lack of protection in the workplace as workers and as queers; a devastating lack of health care that has driven so many into bankruptcy... we could go on. Gay marriage has sucked away vital resources from these issues.

The problem is not simply that marriage is validated as a cultural norm but that it has, in lockstep with the intense neoliberal privatization of the state, become the biggest guarantor of essential benefits. as the legal scholar Nancy Polikoff points out, the United States is unique in the industrialized world in this regard. We have lost count of the number of our friends who have been compelled to marry, despite their dislike of the institution, for the basic right to health care (and we know, of course, that not everyone these days even has such care guaranteed through employment).

In such ways, we see that gay marriage, by asserting marriage as both a formative social experience and a mandated way to live or die, is anything but a simple call to "full equality" (and we cannot help wondering what "half" equality might look like; is it like milk--is there, perhaps, such a thing as half or 2% equality?) The fight for gay marriage ensures the expansion of a neoliberal state that puts the burden of life-ensuring benefits like health care onto the already weary shoulders of individuals.

For all these reasons, we are Against Equality.

So here we come, charging out onto the open road with our new anthology, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, to provide a much-needed antidote to the mainstream gay movement. While what feels like the entirety of the gay and lesbian movement is marching in unison towards some vague notion of equality, the Against Equality collective has been quietly assembling a digital archive to document the critical resistance to the politics of inclusion. This pocket-sized book of archival texts lays out some of the historical foundations of queer resistance to the gay marriage mainstream alongside more contemporary inter-subjective critiques that deal directly with issues of race, class, gender, citizenship, age, and ability.

coverae.jpgThe book includes fierce pieces from Kate Bornstein, Eric Stanley, Dean Spade, John D'Emilio, Kenyon Farrow, as well as regular Bilerico contributors Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Ryan Conrad, yours truly, and many more. The book also comes with a set of postcards designed by the wonderful artists Chris Vargas, Beth Slutzky and Liz Kinnamon.

We will begin our tour in Portland, Maine on October 2 with a head-to-head community dialogue between anthology editor Ryan Conrad and Connecticut Judge Jeffrey S. Busch (he sued CT for the right to get married and won). From there we work our way south to Washington DC doing book launches, panels and community dialogues using our work as a jumping off point. On October 9, we make our way to Chicago for an event with anthology editor Ryan Conrad and contributors Yasmin Nair and John D'Emilio. This event will begin the weeklong mid-west loop of our tour. This winter we also hope to reconvene our book tour shenanigans on the west coast for a few weeks.

To order copies, keep up with all the events we have planned, and/or to invite us to your city/town/university/bookstore/community space etc., find us online. As you can see, Digger, our intern, is already busy but he's not afraid of more work!


Yasmin Nair is a member of the Against Equality Collective. Her work can be found at www.yasminnair.net.


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Angela Brightfeather | September 21, 2010 3:22 PM

Great idea Yasmin. It'a bout time that someone starts to balance of the argument enough so people understand that marriage is not the root of all good or evil, it's just a concocted way of allowing people to fall into the mainstream enough to think that they might become equal, and damn the ones left behind to wallow in their unmarried singleness.

I can't wait to find out how Kate frames up the TRans issues with marriage. My thoughts have always been that when the dust settles, Trans peope will still be searching for a state to live in where they can be legally married without having to drop their pants or lift their skirts to get a license.

Thanks, Angela. I think you'll find that Bornstein's critique is along the lines of what you've written, in her customary direct and sassy style!

I'm glad the book it out :D I'm going to order right now~!

Love it and your website, but I couldn't find a list of places and dates for the tour, do you have a link?

Same here.

I'll keep checking:)

Thanks Cat and Mona - there should be a schedule posted sometime tonight. We've been waiting to hash out some details before we put up anything. Some places will be TBA on days etc., but it looks like a great schedule, and it's growing as we speak!

And...it just went up! And I do want to emphasise that we're getting calls and requests from all over, so do please keep checking back for updates on our website. If you're interested to know if we've got anything planned for a particular site, feel free to contact me or Ryan to see if we've got any plans.

So you are coming to DC? Still need a place to stay, Ryan? What's the date?

While it's important to consider whether or not the LGBT community should be fighting for the freedom to marry, your assertion that Lambda Legal works in its totality on marriage issues is simply untrue. Only 15% of Lambda Legal's current docket involves seeking marriage equality. About the same number of cases on the organization's docket involve seeking rights for same-sex couples outside of marriage. In addition to these relationship cases, Lambda Legal works on transgender rights, rights of people living with HIV, rights of youth in out-of-home care and in schools, workplace issues, parenting, health care issues, aging issues, and government violations of the constitutional rights of LGBT and HIV-positive people.

Lambda Legal works for marriage equality for same-sex couples because many same-sex couples want to marry for the same mix of reasons that many different-sex couples do, including accessing the hundreds of rights, benefits, and protections that in many jurisdictions only marriage currently provides. Thousands of people who are or were in same-sex relationships have called Lambda Legal recounting how they have suffered horrible harms because of exclusion from marriage. While Lambda Legal works to provide solutions to those wrongs outside of marriage as well, as long as marriage exists, same-sex couples who want to marry should have that right.

It's really no different than fighting to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." You may not want to join the military, but for those who do, they should not be treated differently because of their sexual orientation.

"It's really no different than fighting to end DADT"...

Cute.
That's not really a convincing argument with this crowd.

(In other words: the point, you have missed it. Nice try, though.)

Jon, your argument makes a clear and cogent case for ending discrimination in marriage and and the military. The problem is that the radical queer set operates on the assumption that ending discrimination in marriage laws will perpetuate the institution of marriage, which they see as inherently and irredeemably evil. The same goes for ending DADT, which they think will perpetuate the military-industrial complex.

So in other words, they work off the patently absurd assumption that preserving discrimination against GLBT people will eventually lead to a perfect utopian society where there is no military and no marriage and everybody is equal.

That's what they mean when they say they're "Against Equality," meaning that they're in favor of equality for everybody, no matter the basis. It's a nice idea, to be sure, but one that is little more than a pipe dream based on fantasy rather than reality.

Whatever their ideals, in practice, the radical queers are "against equality" in the real meaning of the phrase, meaning that they work toward legal and social inferiority for GLBT people.

Jon,

I believe you're the same Jon Davidson who is the regional director of LL's western office - and that would explain your access to these numbers.

As Mona wrote, your point about DADT falls with a thud in these parts, given our critique of queers and the military industrial complex. And if you read the sentence carefully, I'm clearly pointing to the fact that all the organizations have, in their totality, represented nothing more than a "marriage project."

I understand why you would not want to give the impression that LL is solely driven by marriage. One way to prevent that impression would be to make sure that your co-workers don't go around making hyperbolic and fanatical statements like the one made by Pizer.

I am the Legal Director at Lambda Legal. Please look at our website (www.lambdalegal.org) and you will see that it is absolutely false that our organization has in its "totality represented nothing more than a 'marriage project.'" Do you mean our case striking down the Wisconsin law barring provision of hormones to transgender people in prison? Or our case suing on behalf of a gay student repeatedly assaulted and harassed in his school in New York? How about our case obtaining a preliminary injunction against the state of Arizona denying domestic partner benefits to its state employees? Or our case on behalf of an HIV-positive retired minister kicked out of a long-term care facility in Arkansas? Or our case on behalf of a transgender girl abused in a group facility in Philadelphia? It's one thing to be critical based on a difference in philosophy; it's another to misrepresent the facts.

You may be against LGBT people serving in the military or getting married, but the question is why do you get to decide for the people who want to have the right to do those things and for the people that believe they should have those rights and who support our and other organizations to represent those people, as well as those who seek to fulfill different goals for their lives?

Jon,

I've already tried to explain exactly what the sentence meant - I'm not going to waste time arguing a point that, well, isn't really one. Read the sentence carefully. If I think I need to make it clearer, I will. There's no misrepresenting of facts for the simple reason that the sentence is making a point about ideology, not facts. You're reading it incorrectly, end of story.

And for the last time, I do wish all the marriage-wallahs would get it right: we are not "against LGBT people serving in the military or getting married," in the way you put it - a sentence which implies a very personal and affective agenda on our part, which is far from the truth. People can get married all they want, in churches or upside down in balloons for all we care. Our critique is of a system and a fake movement (led by teh gayz) that insist that only marriage should gain those vital benefits like, oh, health care.

As for, "why do you get to decide..." Well, why do YOU and your colleagues get to decide that "being gay is about forming an adult family relationship with a person of a same sex?" I mean, seriously, really, it's okay for someone from LL to make a preposterous statement like that but it's not okay for us to engage a critique of the politics behind that?

There's a history of how gay marriage came to be projected as the main cause for the entire community, and it's far from being this sentimental history of people seeking nothing more than unions (but with amazing benefits, like health care) with their loved ones. It's a history of mostly white and wealthy gay men and lesbians who decided that the last thing left for them to gain "normalcy" and respectability was marriage, and who have determined the agendas for major gay orgs by sheer dint of their wealth. It's a history of rank neoliberalism, with its emphasis on the privatisation of benefits, as opposed to demanding that the state actually take care of its citizenry with simple things like,oh, health care, colluding with a conservative gay agenda which is also deeply invested in keeping neoliberalism fed and healthy.

It's all that and so much more, but what it absolutely is NOT is simply "people who want to have the right to do those things and ... people that believe they should have those rights and who support our and other organizations to represent those people, as well as those who seek to fulfill different goals for their lives[.]" You can simplify it and render it in such affective terms as much as you want, and you can keep making it seem like ours is simply a petty and vindictive attempt to hurt the feelings of those who want to marry - but the truth, which you know too well because otherwise you wouldn't keep popping up here with your red herrings about what LL is and isn't and how we have "[misrepresented] the facts," is that ours is a stringent political critique of how marriage is used to make one group of people have more material advantages than another. And, clearly, that critique is not only powerful but spreading more and more widely - hence such hyperbolic statements like the one made by Pizer, which reek of desperation, and hence your red herrings.


A "stringent" political critique? Wouldn't "strident" be a more apt term?

You say that your assertion that Lambda Legal and other organizations "have always, in their totality, been a 'marriage project'" is about ideology, not facts. How is that? How about your assertion that Lambda Legal and those groups "have cast aside any concern for the numerous issues facing queers today: homelessness, especially among queer youth; a rise in HIV/AIDS rates; a lack of protection in the workplace as workers and as queers; a devastating lack of health care that has driven so many into bankruptcy?" You are the one reeling in "red herrings." We have a Youth in Out-of-Home Care project that has undertaken numerous initiatives to help homeless queer youth. We have had an HIV Project that has fought against discrimination and other invasions of the rights of people living with HIV for decades and worked for sound HIV education, prevention, and treatment efforts. We have brought scores of employment discrimination on behalf of queer workers. We have submitted briefs on behalf of living wage laws. We have published critiques of the current health care system and worked to gain people health care. In addition, we have relegated to history criminal sodomy, solicitation, and cross-dressing laws long used to oppress LGBT people. We further have taken on mistreatment of queer people in prison ... and in the military ... and in the immigration system. What have you done?

Our ideology is about advancing the rights of the full spectrum of LGBT people and people living with HIV. So is our record. You obviously don't like one aspect of our work, but please stop mischaracterizing "the totality" of what our organization does or what those who work for and financially support it believe in order to have a target for your venom.

If you want to try to dismantle the ways in which the law and businesses unfairly privilege those who marry, go at it. We support universal health care. We have worked to ensure that those who are not married have rights to maintain custody of their children, to visit their loved ones in the hospital, to remain in their homes after the death of their partners, and to freely engage in consensual sex with any, and as many, other adults as they please. But, we also believe that, as long as the government maintains marriage as a legal status that different-sex couples who choose to can enter, same-sex couples who would like to do so as well should have that right (as tens of thousands of same-sex couples already have done in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, California, and Washington, D.C., who remain grateful for our work).

Those who agree with what we do support us in a variety of ways -- financially, by volunteering with us, and by spreading word of our work. That's what gives us the right to do what we do. If you want different work done, then figure out ways to do it rather than misrepresenting the "totality" of our efforts, our ideology or those who make it possible for us to do our work.

"What have you done?" writes Jon Davidson of Lamdbda Legal. This reminds me of the time when a certain "gay activist," earning more than $300,000, demanded to know if I knew any "real people," because I dared to critique hate crimes legislation.

Jon, don't you have better things to do than pick on us scruffy, useless, smelly radicals who just spend our time doing NOTHING while your big bucks change the world? A marriage lawsuit to fight? Another preposterous statement to make about how gays and lesbians are defined entirely by marriage and nothing else? Our records are out there for the world to see, as is the ideological focus of your groups. Unlike you, we don't battle for legitimacy in comment threads - we're much too busy doing vital - and utterly unfunded - work. There's a reason why so many have sought out our work and message.

If I were you - the LEGAL DIRECTOR of Lambda Legal's western office, I'd be spending my time and energy elsewhere.

Have fun bashing that poor red herring to death, and repeating yourself endlessly. And, by the way, this sounds more like something you're pitching to your funders than anything else. Perhaps some of them been demanding to know why groups like yours pretend marriage is so important when it's clearly going nowhere? And why, despite your proclaimed efforts, funding for youth programs and HIV is being decimated everywhere?

There's another nasty comment somewhere here and there will be more, demanding to know all these details. People, I'm not biting. If our message is indeed so futile and useless, why are you here? Shouldn't you be out celebrating the extension of gay marriage in all our states? Oh, right.

Back to work! Back to work!

Oh, and Jon,

Please do come to one of our readings on the west coast - check our website for updates!

1. Excuse me, but you're the one who started this attack on US.
2. The fight for equal marriage rights is clearly going nowhere? What planet are you on? Ending discrimination in marriage in 5 states and D.C. in 7 years, and making it possible for tens of thousands of same-sex couples and their families equally to secure the rights available to different-sex couples (while we do all the other work we do), is hardly going nowhere.
3. You're right. I do have more important things to do. I guess I got suckered in to responding to your diatribes because Bilerico is a site that lots of people read and it bothered me that you were lying about us on it. I'm done.

So once again, you display your pattern of unfair generalizations, red herrings, obfuscations and evasions, resorting to sarcastic and petty remarks when challenged.

Jon Davidson listed tangible achievements that Lambda Legal has made in advancing the rights of GLBT people. Not just in the area of marriage, but in HIV/AIDS, workplace discrimination and many others.

So I'll reiterate his question: What have radical queers done? And I'm not talking about some left-wing battle you fought because "all issues are GLBT issues"; I'm talking about real and substantial advancements of GLBT rights, on the order of what Jon described.

I'm interested to know because all I ever see you do is complain and throw barbs at people who are actually accomplishing things.

The old kindergarten adage, if you want to make a friend, be a friend was not learned by too many.

It is a shame that most (but certainly not all) of the vocal opposition against marriage equality seems to come from the T and the Q communities in the LGBTQ. Why should those who are not T or Q support the issues that benefit you, with your selfish efforts against the huge number of people who want marriage? After all, if you do not want to get married, then just don't get married.
Most of the anti-marriage events that I have seen and read about are by people who are not in an intimate relationship of any duration themselves, and who project a huge resentment against the hundreds of thousands if not millions of relatively happy L and G couples .
Of course, since the Against Equality crowd is typically just against things supported by much if not most of the LGB community, rather than pro-actively for issues, these negativists are the TEABAGGERS of the LGBTQ movement.

I know that previous manifestos by the Against Equality folks have lauded nihilism, anti-capitalism, etc. However, a lot of you folks in the T and Q groups are getting a free ride from the major organizations mostly supported by L and G money. Simply a fact. Can anyone name a few five and six figure donors from the T and Q communities to causes that benefit all the LGBTQ spectrum? I have not run across any yet. The T and Q communities, In situations such as this, should consider that it makes perfect sense to learn a bit about compromising, and support the larger groups, unless you prefer permanent fringe status in society so that you can moan about needing money and having no rights.

I am happy to be contributing both time and substantial money to some organizations that do work for Equality for ALL of us, and which do not declare war on the efforts of any individuals or sub-groups of the LGBTQ communities. However, I am really tired of people who today are living much better lives because of the efforts of the major LGBTQ individuals and organizations, and still bash them.

So my question to the anti marriage T's and Q's, why do you folks think that it is better to stay in the LGBTQ coalition if you fight us so much? Why not simply come up with your own positive agenda that advances your goals, rather than rip us apart for focusing on issues that most of us want, and that is supported by our own money, or funds that we raised?

There is such a thing as taking advantage of historical opportunity and public opinion shifts. The major organizations originally did not support the pro-marriage efforts. However, when the privately initiated efforts started seeing success, they wisely jumped on the bandwagon because they saw two things. First, there was NEVER an issue that got so much front page publicity for our communities, and suddenly brought the inequality that we face in so many areas, OUT OF THE CLOSET. The entire country is now engaged in a very productive conversation about gay rights that never would be happening without the marriage legal cases.
Secondly, once the issue of marriage came out of the closet, huge numbers of gays and lesbians decided that this is for them.
Criticize us all you want for it, denounce the oppressive institution, criticize the bourgeoisie aspects of it all you want, huge numbers of us like the idea, and do in fact see it as helping in many aspects of gay and lesbian lives, whether you marry or not, simply because more of the public is now equality minded towards us because of the public discussion about marriage.
Against Equality's book tour looks as promising as Maggie Gallagher's and Brian Brown's NOM summer tour "supporting marriage".
Most L and G are 100% for ENDA, with T inclusion, as well as the efforts to make the lives of T and Q individuals better, regarding the government issued ID issues (passports and driver's licenses). Of course the health care bill that was passed could have been better. However, many of the tens of millions of Americans who will now be covered will be from the LGBTQ community.

Like the old song from"South Pacific", Accentuate the positive, and E-liminate the negative, and don't settle for Mr In-Between.

Um, Drake, that song is not from South Pacific. Are you sure you're gay?

The teabaggers of the GLBT community? I think not.

The radical queers are the left-wing equivalent to GOProud.

GOProud overlooks the homophobia of Republican candidates like Sean Bielat and endorses him because he "supports policies that will grow our economy, create jobs, and improve the lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans."

The radical queers dismiss and trivialize issues like same-sex marriage as "distractions" and insist that GLBT people instead throw their weight behind various left-wing causes, claiming that they are GLBT issues because, you know, some of the people affected happen to be GLBT.

One group has a right-wing agenda, and the other has a left-wing agenda, but taken to their logical conclusions, both agendas would result in inequality for GLBT people.

Hey, Alaric/AJD! Cute new moniker!

No fears - you can bring your repetitious comments straight to us now - Conrad will be in your neighborhood, Brooklyn, in October. It would be so rad to have an actual dialogue with you in person - the only problem is that you'll actually have to, like, you know, engage in conversation instead of repeating yourself (and if anyone's wondering what I mean, check out every single one of my previous posts for Alaric's comments).

Oh, and Drake? Dude, not only are your queer-phobia and transphobia showing, your tired and old argument that we queers are just like Maggie Gallagher should be wearying even you by now. If you can't show up on a queer blog and engage our politics without resorting to the old "anyone who criticises gay politics is just a homophobe/meanie/Maggie Gallagher/someone who hasn't found the right partner argument" why bother at all? And about the last point, dude, seriously, seriously, that's all you've got?? We're just a bunch of frustrated queers? What's next? An attack on our parents who must have raised us badly??

I've responded to these specious arguments before - check, oh, ALL my previous posts where you've cut and pasted these exact same comments. I think Steve's comment sums it best.

Seriously, I'm tempted to send you both subscriptions to your local newspapers so that you can better inform yourself - even the straight world is no longer intimidated or impressed by these old canards. You should both come to our readings.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Drake,
I want to remind you that when you make a tax deductable donation to an organization like LL or HRC, you are removing that money from the tax base and taking it away from vital services such as schools, the fire department, social services, etc. So, NO, its not up to the private donors how the money should be spent. The money is really public money and must be spent in the interest of the public good! So there MUST be debate about what that public good actually is. ITS NOT YOUR MONEY!

Yasmin seems to have no comment about several points, so there has been a stooping to name calling, about "trans-phobia and queer-phobia".

How about commenting on some of these points that you always evade:

1. Where money to fight for her rights comes from, as well as the rights of others in the T and Q communities, that is, the fact that most of it comes from the lesbian and gay communities.

2. The functioning/compromising necessary in any coalition, such as the LGBTQ coalition.

3. The unfathomable huge favorable publicity that all of our issues have received because of the marriage cases, referenda, legislation, court decisions, and so on.

4. The truth that we never before had any kind of national dialog on LGBTQ rights or inequality until the marriage issue arose. I agree that it truly was a "moment in history" when the Massachusetts Court articulated this first. It started the steam-roller than has seen many successes.

5. Why mixing in so many issues that are "not really gay" is good for achieving LGBTQ rights?

6. The terse but true statement above, "If one doesn't like marriage, just do not get married." (This is what heteros do, and they have had marriage much longer).

7. The gross exaggerations by Against Equality about Lambda Legal and other organizations about their allocation of resources and work on issues.

8. Why the individual constituencies of LGBTQ who raise money should not be spending it on the issues for which the money was given?

By the way, concerning your proposed visit to the District of Columbia. Washington, D.C. does in fact have legalized same sex marriage already, and there was not the collapse of funding for all the various issues and causes that you claim with expressions like "suck all the oxygen from the room". Maybe you would find more like minded people against LGBTQ Equality if you did your "reading" someplace else, like Mississippi or Alabama. Lots of folks there hate us gays.

Remember, Against Equality has previously spoken loudly against LGBTQ equality in immigration law as well as other issues. Does Against Equality also oppose ENDA, since it perpetuates the employer-employee industrial complex or some such thing? You all have also denounced the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, as well as being against the Defense of Marriage Act. Really, is there anything in mainstream LGBTQ politics that you all support, any thing at all?

And finally, as written above, why Against Equality, particularly Yasmin and Ryan, are so interested in preserving discrimination in all forms against LGBTQ persons?

Dear Peter,

Interesting questions - you should read the book - all is revealed therein! No, seriously, we've actually taken all these points and, well, addressed/dismantled them.

So thanks for asking and giving me the opportunity to remind readers that this post is really an invitation to actual, fabulous, real life readings where people, hopefully many who might even disagree with us, will come and participate in civic community discussions. As you are aware, since you have visited quite often and asked these same questions, we have responded to these issues many times before. Now, we look forward to actually engaging with you. You know, the old-fashioned way, face to face.

Come to the events! They're fun, engaging, and vibrant and we have the best cookies! Our queer radical cookies are filled with fresh, wholesome ingredients that put a spring in your step and the rad back in radical!

Okay, maybe I can't guarantee cookies at *every* event, but they WILL be fun. Be warned though - you'll have to actually speak to us!

Love and peace, everyone,

Yours,
Yasmin

I'm really excited about this book but I have one small complaint. Why are you staying in the mid-west and north east. The south east desperately needs this kind of radical critique.

Please on your spring tour could you come to the South East, particularly North Carolina? Greensboro or Charlotte would be my preference. I seem to remember D’Emilio used to teach at UNC Greensboro and I'm sure someone there would be willing to work with you.

Hi Sam,

Thanks for asking - yes, we're definitely trying to come to the south, southwest, and southeast; we're especially concerned about not replicating the conventionally queer focus on the coasts and midwest. We've had feelers from Houston and Arkansas, for instance, and we're excitedly trying to arrange trips there. We have sent out or are in the process of sending out inquiries to all the universities and organisations we know in all regions and the schedule is very much in progress; a lot depends on who can sponsor us for trips. In the meantime, if you know orgs as well that might also want to chip in these parts, do let us know - we're all about cross-pollination.

And please do keep checking our schedule for updates!

Yasmin is choosing not to engage with you and answer your question - but I will! I work with Yasmin in a local Chicago group called Gender JUST. Gender JUST is a radical queer group led by queer people of color. In the past several years, this group (of which Yasmin is an active member!) has:
1. made Chicago schools safer for LGBTQ and gender non conforming students by creating a grievance procedure in Chicago Public Schools for students to seek redress for violence and oppression faced based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and all factors;
2. increased funding for HIV prevention services in neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago, which are horribly underfunded and most devastated by the virus;
3. decreased harassment of queer youth by local businesses by entering into an agreement with the local business association which includes training by queer youth, funding by the businesses, and ongoing dialogue;
4. improved services for queer youth by organizing against police presence in local LGBTQ community center;
5. provided countless jobs to queer youth by successfully pressuring the city of chicago to open a funding stream for employment of queer youth;
and the list goes on and on and on.

You may not think these measly local issues are as important as marriage - but they impact us much deeper than marriage ever will.

And this is in addition to significant work done around immigration, economic justice, health care, and the rest of the "left-wing battles [we] fight because 'all issues are GLBT issues'"

AND we did all this without the millions of dollars that LL, HRC, and the rest of that lot spend daily on bs!

So, I don't want to EVER read you saying that radical queers in general, and Yasmin specifically, hasn't done anything to make life better for LGBTQ people!