In the twenty-seven years since the 1969 Stonewall riots, “coming out” has acquired extraordinary significance in the gay community—so much significance that many of us might even say coming out “defines” the difference between being gay and an older, pre-gay notion of being homosexual. Through much of that quarter-century-plus, when, if you hadn’t “come out of the closet,” many gay men and lesbians felt that you had somehow betrayed them, that you couldn’t really “define yourself as gay,” that you had not “accepted your gay identity,” I found myself faced with a paradox: Much of my critical enterprise over that same period had been devoted to showing that such “defining” or “identifying” events (when, as a reader, you first became aware of science fiction; when, as a child, you realized you were black, gay, or an artist) simply did not “define” anything.
In the gradual, continual, and constantly modulating process of becoming who we are, all events take their meanings, characteristic or uncharacteristic, from their surrounding event field in which they occur. While certainly they contribute to what we are or are becoming, single events simply do not carry the explicative strength “definition” and “identity” denote…
“I began to use the phrase in my work White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy because I wanted to have some language that would actually remind us continually of the way, the interlocking systems of domination that define our reality…To me, an important breakthrough, I felt, in my work and that of others was the call to use the term White Supremacy over racism, because racism in and of itself did not really call for a discourse of colonization and decolonization, the recognition of the internalized racism within people of color, and it was always in a sense keeping things at the level that in which whiteness, and white people, remained at the center of the discussion…In my classroom, I might say to students that when we use the term white supremacy, it doesn’t just evoke white people, it evokes a political world that we can all frame ourselves in relation to.”
- bell hooks, cultural criticism and transformation (Media Education Foundation video)
We would like to invite you to participate in an online reading group over June. We will be reading Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: homonationalism in queer times (a copy is available as pdf on the group for those who need it).
Head on over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/jasbirjune/…
do this!! the book is very academic and is certainly worth reading with a crew!!
Gay men and lesbians have nearly disappeared into their sophisticated awareness of how they have been constructed as gay men and lesbians. The discrediting of a specific gay identity (and the correlative distrust of etiological investigations into homosexuality) has the curious but predictable result of eliminating the indispensable grounds for resistance to, precisely, hegemonic regimes of the normal. We have erased ourselves in the process of denaturalizing the epistemic and political regimes that have constructed us. The power of those systems is only minimally contested by demonstrations of their “merely” historical character. They don’t need to be natural in order to rule; to demystify them doesn’t render them inoperative. If many gays no reject a homosexual identity as it has been elaborated for gays by others, the dominant heterosexual society doesn’t need our belief in its own naturalness in order to continue exercising and enjoying the privileges of dominance. Suspicious of our own enforced identity, we are reduced to playing subversively with normative identities- attempting, for example, to defy the usual assumptions about what constitutes a family. These efforts, while valuable, can have assimilative rather than subversive consequences; having de-gayed themselves, gays melt into the culture they like to think of themselves and undermining. Or, having “realistically” abandoned what one queer theorist calls a “millennial vision” of dominations demise, we resign ourselves to the micropolitics of local struggles for participatory democracy and social justice, thus revealing political ambitions about as stirring as those reflected on the bumper stickers that enjoin us to “think globally” and “act locally”.
De-gaying gayness can only fortify homophobic opression; it accomplished in its own way the principal aim of homophobia: the elimination of gays.
“Living End had an angriness about AIDS, and it had a really militant way. It wasn’t whiney about AIDS and I always have trouble with whiney people in any minority that are complainy and “we can’t get ahead because we’re gay.” Well kick their ass then if you can’t get ahead.”
Great article on the @SFPride Grand Marshal Kerfuffle
SF Pride’s decision, of course, shows what gays value in the course of “garnishing equality,” at this self-congratulatory, triumphant, but still above all “sensitive” time. Equality doesn’t just mean the right to marry, or the right to wear a form-fitting and extremely attractive uniform. It’s not just symbolic. It’s both privilege and responsibility, and don’t you forget it. It means equal and uncomplaining participation in the full panoply of the United States’ domestic injustices and imperial extravagances. It means an equal right to repress, in redress and revenge for all that history of enduring repression. It means you no longer have to lobby the government for anything; your only job is to lie back and endorse whatever it does. It means that you can rest in the serene knowledge that other people are being tortured, and you won’t object, because torture is a great equalizer, a silent democracy of abasement. It means that you finally get to be one of the killers, instead of the killed.