“THE POLICE WOULD ARREST TRANSVESTITES FOR FUN. WHEN IT’S ILLEGAL TO BE YOURSELF, YOU HAVE NO OPTION BUT TO FIGHT BACK”
Queer theory fought the marriage equality movement and lost. What comes next will require scholars to come out of their journals and into the streets. by Claire Potter.
“These examples underline the point that social movements need theory, but theory needs a social movement, and queer theory in particular needs to address its movement future. Attaching itself to neocolonial and antiracist struggles is one crucial route, but that route is also fraught with contradictions that cannot be resolved if activist queers are unwilling to privilege homophobia as destructive to a truly radical vision or to imagine building a broad-based social movement that puts activists in communities that are now being claimed by a liberal gay and lesbian establishment.”
“For her project Sworn Virgins of Albania, photographer Jill Peters visited to the mountain villages of northern Albania to capture portraits of “burneshas,” or females who have lived their lives as men for reasons related to their culture and society.
Many of the women assumed their male identities from an early age as a way to avoid the old codes that governed the tribal clans, which stated that women were the property of their husbands.”
“Or, more importantly, if in the past two years FEMEN had not taken such a colonialist and even seriously racist turn, alienating many who might otherwise sympathise with their attempt to reinvigorate ‘third wave’ feminism.
The truth is, many of FEMEN’s actions are funny, in a way. So is their website, among whose images is one of a FEMEN activist brandishing a bloodied sickle in one hand and a pair of testicles in the other. But usually I’m laughing in an ‘I-can’t-believe-their-politics-are-so-off-the-mark’ way. And increasingly, it has started to feel a bit like laughing as you slowly realise that you’re actually watching a train wreck.”
Where Looks Don’t Matter and Only the Best Writers Get Laid
How the feminist internet utopia failed, and we ended up with speculative realism
“The era of the text-based Internet in the ‘80s and ‘90s was a unique period of Turing-style, behind-the-curtain interaction1. Rather than proving to each other that they were humans, users of the developing system had fantasies of transcending their bodies altogether—something akin to the out-of-body mind-travel in Neuromancer. Passing written notes back and forth through the curtain of the screen, they could invent and reinvent their A/S/Ls.
Through this cyber-body freedom, cyberfeminists anticipated finally moving beyond gender. Multiple User Domains (MUDs), Bulletin Board Services (BBSs), Role Playing Games (RPGs) and various other interactive internet portals were to be populated by polymorphous men, women, transgendered animals, three-headed aliens, medieval warriors … identities with genders and sexualities of infinite type.”
“Every couple of seasons, like warriors of an ancient cult or like the antagonists in Games of Thrones, scholars arm themselves for battle over the ownership of the term “queer.” These battles have pitted historians against literary critics, empiricism against abstract theory, those with investments in the normative against those with investments in resistance; Foucaultians against Deleuzians, boys against girls, gender queers against cis-genders, people who watch Project Runway versus people who watch women’s tennis, Broadway musical lovers against performance art fans, people who want the freedom to marry against people who want freedom from marriage, pet lovers versus pet haters and so on. It seems to be a queer rite, in addition, to claim that, queer is over!”
“Artist iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Most people, it turns out, consider themselves to exist in the gray areas of sexuality, not 100% gay or straight. Which presents a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line?”
(Recommended by Mehita I.)
(Sent by Gilles B.)
“It is in this context that the internationalization of gayness, being a more public and specific effort, compared to the internationalization of straightness and heterosexuality, which is a far more protracted and general project, gets to be championed by neoliberal white American (and European) gay men—while imperialist white American (and European) women would busy themselves in projects of saving non-white women globally from non-white men—seeking to spread freedom and liberty for the oppressed “homosexual” masses around the world while half the American states meanwhile had laws on the books that criminalized homosexuality—laws which it became necessary to remove from the books in one swoop in 2003 by the US Supreme Court in order to better advance this universalizing agenda of American liberal values.”