Stop patronising the 'queer radicals'
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.