Stop patronising the 'queer radicals'
Mar04

Stop patronising the 'queer radicals'

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 04 March 2015 12:20 Written by // Jessica Ison

Jess Ison questions Rodney Croome's assessment of queer radicals and why there are legitimate reasons some young LGBTIQ people push the gay marriage debate to the bottom of their agenda.

Hi, I'm one of these 'radicals' Rodney Croome was writing about in his recent article 'Is Queer Radicalism on the Rise?' I mean, I'm against gay marriage and see GAYTM's as the antithesis of queer rights. I could also talk about many of my other anarchist and anti-capitalist politics, or the fact that I've been putting an anti-gay marriage book together for a few years. Lo and behold, I also have tattoos and piercings. Yep, a radical.

But what else am I? Well I happen to be doing a PhD in queer activism (and animal activism, see: radical). I'm also a tutor at a university. Do you trust my politics more now that you know I'm highly educated and paid to lecture the youth?

Yet, I come from a working class family. This means that I see banks like ANZ as the enemy. Their use of huge debts to force the working class in to subservience controlled my childhood. Their GAYTM’s do nothing for working class people, queer or otherwise.

Let me not just focus on myself, now that I've convinced you I'm worth listening to.

Why are us 'radical queers' against gay marriage? Well first of all, people against gay marriage are all ages, not just passionate youths, as Croome so condescendingly described. But even if we were only youths (being 29 I wonder, can I be a "youth" any more?) what would that tell us?

It tells us that young people have bigger issues than gay marriage.

But let’s be honest. This isn’t only about gay marriage. This mainstream agenda seeks to sanitize queerness as much as gayly possible. It applauds gays in the military. It advocates for prisons specifically for queer and trans people. It will actually tell rightwing bigoted parties how to harness the gay vote.Yes Rodney Croome, we did see your advice to Tony Abbott on how he could reel in the pink vote.

This agenda also affects queer people of colour and transgender people, amongst others, in countless ways (I highly recommend reading Against Equality for more nuanced detail, though I’m not quite sure where the memes are that Croome speaks of).

In short, this agenda is one that is self-serving, neoliberal, and only benefits a few.

Yet we’re made to appear as the ones who co-opted 'LGBTI issues into revolutionary agendas'.

Apparently Stonewall was a cup of tea? Or perhaps it was an orchestra? You see, I’d argue that Croome has co-opted our radical activist past in order to create a bland future. And in doing this, he has somehow argued that we don’t understand because some of us weren’t alive in the 70s. We respect and admire the work of our elders, but for many of us there is still a long way to go.

So, what are some of the things we want, us anti-gay marriage radicals?

We want to abolish prisons and stop fighting wars. We want to see the end of conservative corporate power. We want real support for queer youth. We want positive change for refugees and other marginalised and oppressed people, regardless of their sexuality. And we want to remain fabulous whilst doing it.

It’s hard not to feel down about the fact that this apparently makes us radical.

But then, I end up at some queer party where people are having orgies, fisting each other in every orifice, and I think, at least they can never sanitise this. Phew.

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Jessica Ison

Jessica Ison

Jessica Ison is a writer, ranter and radical queer. She is one day hoping to finish editing the book “To the exclusion of all others: queer critiques of gay marriage”. Jess is also the representative for the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Oceania.

Comments (9)

  • Michael Barnett

    05 March 2015 at 03:09 |
    If I understand correctly, the author is against gay marriage because there are more important issues.

    That would seem more of a reason for not being prepared to fight for gay marriage rather than one for being against it.

    It strikes me as especially odd that a woman should advocate for legal inequality, given the struggle women have had to achieve equal rights in society.

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    • tash

      05 March 2015 at 16:52 |
      Marriage has never been about an equal partnership for women and in some nation's married women still become their husband's chattels - so i see no dichotomy in someone questioning the equality that marriage equality supposedly brings. It is a heterosexist norm.

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      • Soli

        06 March 2015 at 00:01 |
        Nevertheless, marriage is not inherently unequal. It is unequal if the couple entering into it have an unequal power dynamic which has been the case a lot of the time, yes; but it doesn't mean that people on equal footing with one another are suddenly made unequal when they marry,

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      • Michael Barnett

        05 March 2015 at 21:12 |
        "Marriage has never been about an equal partnership for women"

        Not even in lesbian marriages?

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    • Barrie

      05 March 2015 at 10:18 |
      Marriage is better described as conformity rather than equality. The latter just sounds better. And the feminists of the 60s and 70s were opposed to marriage so I think it's quite consistent that some women are still prepared to question rather than tow the politically correct line.
      http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13630#.VPeSr3aKJI4

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      • Michael Barnett

        05 March 2015 at 21:18 |
        "Marriage is better described as conformity rather than equality."

        When I got married to my husband we didn't swap rings. We didn't do many traditional things. In fact, we made up a lot of the service to suit ourselves. We even aren't going to have children together. Oh, and there was no honeymoon, no massive reception, no registry and none of the regular trappings, except we had two best men (one more best than the other). Nothing has changed in our relationship since having gotten married except that we're now legally married in NZ and we have a marriage certificate in our bedroom.

        How is any of that conformity?

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        • Barrie

          05 March 2015 at 22:08 |
          How is any of that equality?
          Do heterosexuals keep their marriage certificate in the bedroom?
          Are you saying yours is framed? Hanging on the wall? As if your bedroom activity is now legitimate because of that?
          Your attitude flies in the face of the gay liberation movement of the 60s and 70s.
          Our sexuality is none of the governments business. If you want it certified by a piece of paper then yes, that's conformity.

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          • Soli

            05 March 2015 at 23:56 |
            Ideally, our sexuality would be none of the government's business, Barrie, but it is because same-sex people cannot marry one another and certain economic advantages are conferred upon married couples by the government.

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  • Barrie

    06 March 2015 at 09:59 |
    So if it's about equality Soli, those economic advantages should be conferred upon ALL couples. Why should a married couple get advantages over others? And if they are, how is that equality?
    As I said earlier, this has nothing to do with equality, it's just labelled that to make the arguments sound watertight. After all, who's going to argue against equality? But see how easy you trip yourself up praising the 'advantages' married people enjoy. Give those advantages to ALL couples I say.

    reply

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